Bill Kirkpatrick 1927- 2018
A former curate of St Anne’s Fr Bill Kirkpatrick died on 4th January this year after living with dementia for the last ten years of his life. Fr Bill had lived in a small bedsit at St Anne’s from 1970-1975 and worked extensively with the homeless charity Centrepoint, which had been recently founded there.
Later he developed a courageous ministry in Earls Court working with young rent boys, having been shocked by the death of an 15 year old boy who ‘worked’ the area. It was during these years that AIDS and HIV was recognised, and Bill was one of the first to see that the co-factors were not promiscuity, irresponsible behaviour, or belonging to ‘risk-groups’, but stigma, oppression, poverty and lack of sexual health education. His book AIDS- Sharing the pain was groundbreaking and led to the present Rector of St Anne’s going to talk to Fr Bill whilst studying issues around bereavement during his time at theological college in the late 1990’s.
Born in Canada Bill had been placed in an orphanage when only one month old, and later took the orphanage’s name as his surname. Coming to London when he was 21 he worked in Selfridges and Foyles before training as a psychiatric nurse. A contemplative at heart who ministered amidst the noise of the city, he was an exemplary and remarkable priest. We are delighted that a portrait of him by Natalie d’Aberloff has been given to St Anne’s for permanent display along with a few other items which will be archived.
May Bill rest in peace, good and faithful servant of Christ.
with thanks to Martin Pendergast.