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Michael Mayne, Dean of Westminster 1986 - 1996

Sunday, 22nd October 2006

Michael Mayne, Dean of Westminster 1986 - 1996

The Dean and Chapter were saddened to hear of the death of former Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Michael Mayne KVCO, on Sunday 22nd October.

We send our prayers and condolences to his wife, Alison, and family.

Canon Robert Wright, the Sub-Dean, said:

Michael Mayne was a much loved and admired priest with a particular gift for bringing together the arts and spirituality. This resulted in a rich period in the Abbey's liturgical life with many services showing extraordinary flair and invention. In his life, and indeed in his dying, he demonstrated his profound love for people and his pastoral gifts. Breaking the pattern of members of the establishment not allowing their public persona to show weakness and vulnerability, he wrote "A Year Lost and Found" about his experiences with M.E. - a book that has helped countless people suffering with that illness. He did so much to raise awareness of HIV/Aids through poetry evenings in Jerusalem Chamber when his natural warmth and gift for involving people brought together a remarkable gathering of people. It is then perhaps not surprising that such singularly unusual generosity should have lead Michael to write of his final battle with cancer in "The Enduring Melody" which I am sure will be of enormous help to both those who face their own death and those who support the dying. May he rest in peace.

Michael Mayne often quoted that "being Dean of Westminster is perhaps the best job in the Church of England". He loved his time at Westminster and during his ten years here he endeavoured to improve the daily worship of the Abbey in a variety of ways. The major restoration of the western towers and Henry VII's Lady Chapel took place during his period of office and further new memorials were introduced including those to Innocent Victims of war and violence, anti-slavery campaigner Thomas Clarkson and writers Oscar Wilde and Sir John Betjeman. He brought together people to take part in events who valued the experience and who from then on continued to offer their support and encouragement to the Abbey and his social conscience was obvious in the causes he championed. His unique gifts were offered in the service of the Abbey and it is for these that his many friends here and throughout the Church and beyond will remember him with love and affection.

At different times of the day, or in different seasons, the light falling in the Abbey will light up something that you have walked past a million times and never seen before.


Vanessa, Head of Conservation

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