FRIENDS and family of a much-loved Chorley vicar turned up to his funeral in their hundreds yesterday.
The Rev Tim Wilby, 57, suffered a major stroke before Christmas and died in the early hours of Sunday, December 18.
He was vicar at St George’s Church in Chorley and Area Dean of the borough.
Speaking to the Evening Post after the funeral, bishop of Burnley the Rt Rev Philip North, said: “Tim will leave an enormous hole in Blackburn diocese because he was just such a character. He just lit up the room but he was also so solid in his faith.
“The atmosphere at the service was lovely because it gave people space to grieve and be sad but there was also plenty of thankfulness and joy.”
Rev Peter Smith, vicar of St Peter’s in Chorley, addressed visitors and spoke about Tim’s mischievousness and faithfulness.
Tim’s great friend Alistair Fuller also spoke of his kindness, friendship, calling into ministry and capacity for love.
“It was a very moving speech,” said the bishop. “He talked about the darkest moment of his life when Tim had come and found him. There was a real sense that Tim was always there when he was needed.
“Tim was also a great musician and he was taken out of the church to a boisterous jazz number with all three bishops in the diocese processing out. I think Tim, with his sense of humour, would have loved that.”
Tim’s funeral service was streamed via video into the church hall as hordes of people turned out to pay their respects. Some even listened to the service from outside in the churchyard.
Tim is survived by his wife of 35 years, Hilary, and their four children who are all aged between 25 and 32.