It is with great sadness that we record here the death from cancer of a former Chair of Trustees of Sarum College on 22 November. The Very Revd Alec Knight died peacefully at home with his family around him.
Born on July 24th, 1939 Alec was educated at Taunton School and Saint Catharine’s College, Cambridge. Anglicanism ran deeply in his bloodstream, and he served the Church of England with skill, fortitude and unwavering pragmatism. Education and learning were an integral part of his ministry and passion. He worked in school chaplaincy, the Bloxham Project, the Aston training scheme (a church ministry foundation course) and in parish ministry. Before his appointment as Dean of Lincoln he was the Archdeacon of Basingstoke and a Residential Canon at Winchester Cathedral. His wife Sheelagh supported him throughout his ministry — they were a great team.
Upon his retirement, Alec and Sheelagh settled in Whiteparish on the outskirts of Salisbury where they exercised a ministry of hospitality and prayer. Their home was a welcoming space for visitors and friends. Alec was appointed Sarum College Chair of Trustees on 24 April 2007 at a challenging time for the work on the college. With a steady and firm hand he steered the Trustees through some organisational difficulties. His last meeting as Chair was in September 2016.
“I owe Alec a deep debt of gratitude for his support of my appointment as Principal in 2015,” comments James Woodward. “Together with his guidance, judgement and challenges shared in meetings and ongoing planning conversations. Sheelagh and Alec’s hospitality at their home was always refreshing, encouraging and nourishing.
His leadership of the Trustees was exercised at a critical time in the life of the College. He improved and developed good governance practice and financial rigour.
Alec had a particularly good knowledge of wine. When I asked to see him to seek his advice, he invited me to meet him one autumn evening outside Salisbury City Hall at 6pm. To my delight it was a wine society tasting and by the time we got to wine 8 or 9 the complex world of leadership looked altogether a little bit more possible. I still remember his challenges and questions about the wider church and the place of theology within it.”
We pray for Sheelagh and their family. We give thanks to God for Alec’s contribution to the life of Sarum College and pray that he may rest in peace.
The photograph of the sunrise on this web page was taken the morning after Alec’s death. Alec always believed that death was not a movement into the sunset but rather a new dawn.
May he rest in peace.