FATHER SYDNEY GOOSE OF CANNING TOWN.
Remember this man? He never made the headlines. He only worked in one place. He did one job. He was in Newham for 47 of his 72 years.
He was part of the old Canning Town story; an old-fashioned priest of the Church of England.
He came to St. Luke's Church, Victoria Docks as a curate in 1933 and became the longest-ever serving curate in the UK by 1970! He became a reluctant vicar in 1970 and worked on until 1978.
Canning Town was his only parish and the congregation his only family, He walked the streets, was welcomed in the homes, christened the babies, married the couples and buried the dead. He spent his evenings in youth clubs [becoming an expert table-tennis player!] and his Saturdays with the St. Luke's football teams .In post through the war-time blitz, he saw massive changes in the docks, watched the post-war rebuilding around St. Luke's and held on through the years of decline and uncertainty.
Made to retire in 1978 at the age of 70 he refused to go a clergy home in Suffolk, wanted to stay in Newham and lived in Lawrence Hall Community Centre, Plaistow for two years. There he wandered around with sweets in his cassock pocket for the children, celebrated weekly communion in the Quiet Room, led prayers once a week, hung coloured lights from his room at Christmas and sat among his friends.
He died in the old St. Andrews Hospital in 1980 and St Luke's was packed out for his funeral service as many of 'his boys' returned for a thanksgiving service.
(Colin Marchant Faith Flows in Newham Project 2010)