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News > Deaths & Obituaries > FOSKETT, John Herbert, The Reverend Canon

FOSKETT, John Herbert, The Reverend Canon

You are warmly welcomed to leave a message below, share your memories, and celebrate the life of John Foskett, who we sadly lost in 2017.
FOSKETT, John Herbert, The Reverend Canon
Died on 6 July 2017, aged 78. Geoffrey Shaw (HS 53-58) writes:

I first knew John in those early days in Hillside. We grew up together and from the very beginning he had an influence on me. Through him I was introduced to the religious experience which has never left me to this day and I am grateful to him for this. We had a mutual love of cricket – a passion in both of us – he had much more natural skill than me but he gave me the privilege as a young boy to play in his local village cricket club team in the holidays at Tadworth, where when I was there I was welcomed by his family.

Following gaining a degree at Cambridge and Theology in Chichester, he went to his first curacy in my home area, first in Old Malden, and then in Kingston-on-Thames. It was there that he began to develop his considerable counselling skills to become the first full-time chaplain of the Maudsley and Bethlem hospitals, a job he did for 18 years until ill health forced him to leave a job he loved. He became godfather to my eldest son. He was honoured to be appointed as a Canon of Southwark Cathedral, and so it was very appropriate that a service of Thanksgiving for his life was held there on 14 November 2017.

From the very beginning, he had this extraordinary ability to have a sympathetic rapport with anyone he met, and this has carried through his whole life – in his work as a priest and counsellor, the relationship with his family and friends – those he met in the sport he loved. He always made you feel that you were special to him and that moment so I can see why he was so successful at Maudsley with the mentally ill, why he was sought out for advice by health professionals and fellow clergy, and why he was so loved by his family and the church in Dorchester where he and his wife, Mary, lived following the diagnosis of his illness.

Above all, he was a pioneer in clinical pastoral education, a creative force with those around him, a persuader who made one feel whatever he advocated was the way to go. He had a deep and passionate commitment to help the disenfranchised and disempowered and he was a respected author in the field of mental health.

He had this extraordinary ability and the strongest of faith to see beyond death into the next world. He talked about passing the baton as he finished the race and encouraged those around him to follow their dreams. This became more poignant as his health deteriorated, for he never wavered in the way he behaved, setting up courses which he called ‘Grave Talks’ to try to get those in his local parish to talk about death and dying, and what would be experienced beyond. I love the image suggested by Sully, his grandson, that his grandad would come back to us a bird so that he could visit us in our different places in his own time: he might be closer than you think.
Sometimes one says of someone we no longer see that they were a thoroughly ‘good egg’. I would say that he was a thoroughly nice man to all he encountered and I was lucky to have known him.

(HS 53-57)


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