It was with sadness that we received the news, a few days ago, of the passing of our long time friend Peter Haughey. Peter was admitted to Wakefield Hospital, suffering with pneumonia on Monday October 29th 2012. Shortly afterwards he suffered two cardiac arrests, was moved to the Intensive Care Unit and put on life support. His son Jamie, his daughter Esther and his brother Michael came to be with him. On Friday November 2nd, after consultation with Peter’s medical team, the family made the decision to remove life support. Peter, who had been in a coma since the cardiac arrests, slipped away into the presence of the Lord at 9:00am on Tuesday November 6th. Jamie, Esther and his niece Rachel were with him at the time of his passing.
Peter’s friendship with us goes back almost fifty years. He entered our life and that of the Grange Fellowship in the early 1960s. At the time he was working for Isaac Braithwaite Installations, a Kendal based company that manufactures industrial, automatic pressing machines for the clothing and laundry industries.
The company sent him to London to work and represent them in the south of England. He obtained lodgings with Robert and Margery Hodgins in Chiswick and was soon involved with Gunnersbury Baptist Church, to which Bob and Marge belonged, and the Grange Fellowship. The impact of his enthusiastic and infectious Christian life was soon felt by all who met him.
Peter had boundless energy and needed to be busy doing things. He soon had a Bible Study group, followed by tea, meeting on Sunday afternoons at the Hodgins’ home. Marge, being the kind, generous hearted and hospitable person that she was, took it all in her stride. This coincided with his becoming part of the Grange Fellowship and, being older than the teenagers for whom the Grange existed, he became one of a group of young adult believers who were an immense help to Grace and myself in the leadership and operation of the Grange.
Peter entered into a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus and was born again of the Spirit of the Lord while serving in the British armed forces on the island of Cyprus. His life was dramatically changed and he testified to the power of the Lord in his life, giving him the victory over, for example, excessive consumption of alcohol. He was a great contributor in discussion in the Grange Bible studies, an encourager in the faith to our young people and a fervent prayer warrior both in the Grange prayer meetings and in his personal life.
When the opportunity arose for us to have the use of a Good News Literature Fellowship trailer that we could stock with Christian books and literature and use it as a point of contact with people on Saturdays in Chiswick High Road, Peter did not hesitate to take the leadership of this project.
It was a pity that this proved to be only a temporary ministry as we learned that we were running afoul of local bylaws relating to street vendors. Peter explained to the local authorities that we were not selling anything as everything on the trailer was free to anyone and were not, therefore, vendors. The matter was mulled over by the Chiswick Council for several months. Finally, we were told that we may not continue. But it was a good opportunity while it lasted and Peter and his fellow workers made the most of it.
When the Grange purchased an ex-East Kent country bus, that we named “Blodwen,” Peter became one of the regular team of drivers. He personally organized and took groups in the bus to Bible Camps at Cliff College in Derbyshire. After nine years, we sold Blodwen and replaced it with an ex-London Transport Greenline bus. Many years later we learned that Blodwen (but not bearing that name anymore) was still in active service. It now belongs to Ken Thompson, a garage owner in Mattersey, Nottinghamshire. Peter drove there from Wakefield with a friend and found that Blodwen had been magnificently restored outside and in and looked splendid in its original East Kent colours. Blodwen is now available for hire to take groups of people to weddings and other special events. Peter was thrilled with what he found and took many pictures. Here are three:
Peter was thorough in everything he did and came up with excellent ideas. A very good example of this was his contribution to the work of “The Dive” coffee bar. Following some personal street evangelism in the Chiswick-Hammersmith area the Grange had the opportunity to take over a basement coffee bar that had been a venue of young people of the motorcycle “Rocker” genre. In the complete makeover that was done by members of the Grange, Peter was very active and was personally responsible for the design and layout of the serving area. During the years that the coffee bar remained open he was a regular member of the volunteer team who welcomed the young people who came and shared the Gospel with them.
Near the end of the 1960s Peter fell in love with another member of the Grange – a beautiful Chinese girl named Diane, and she with him. They were married in 1971 and gave to the world two beautiful people in their children, son Jamie and daughter Esther.
Like all the rest of us mortals, Peter was not perfect and he had his challenges and struggles. He was moved back to the north of England and went through a difficult time in his life. Very sadly, his marriage to Diane failed and she moved to Holland. They both remained, in the circumstances, excellent parents and the two of them have had a very amicable relationship for years.
After moving to Wakefield, Peter found a ministry in which he became very involved. I refer to the work of the Maranatha Community. Over the years he has served in more than one leadership role and the work has been, clearly, very close to his heart. We have received many emails from him with pictures of different events. The folks at Maranatha will surely and sorely miss him.
For many years following our move to Canada we were not able to get together with Peter on our visits back to the UK. This was remedied in 2000 when we were staying with friends in Preston. Peter met us for tea and fellowship at “The Tickled Trout,” on the outskirts of Preston. He was on his way to Kendal to visit his mother.
Peter was a great blessing in our lives and in the work of the Grange Fellowship. I believe the Maranatha Community will say the same with regards to their ministry. He loved the Lord and his fellow believers. He loved his family. Now, while we mourn his loss we also celebrate his life. Our sympathies are extended to his children Jamie and Esther, his grandchildren and other members of his family. His work on earth is done and he has entered the full reality of all that the Lord Jesus promised to those who love and serve him.