Tributes to former Preston rector

Memories: Canon John Andrew and, below, Fr Timothy Lipscomb

Memories: Canon John Andrew and, below, Fr Timothy Lipscomb

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A former vicar of Preston, Canon John Andrew, has died in America aged 83.

Canon Andrew was rector of ​Preston from 1969 to 1972 before crossing the Atlantic to New York.

Fr Timothy Lipscomb

Fr Timothy Lipscomb

He became rector at the fashionable St Thomas’s, Fifth Avenue Church – where he served until 1996.

Today the vicar of Preston, Fr Timothy Lipscomb described Mr Andrew as a “colourful character who will be sorely missed.”

Fr Timothy said Canon Andrew was based in Preston long before he himself entered the clergy, but his predecessor had since made contact and was keenly interested in what was happening in the city.

He said: “He was a great character and the clergy is a poorer place for his passing. He was very personable and got on well with everybody.

“He was always interested in what was going on here, and was always terribly encouraging.”

The Scarborough-born clergyman had been chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury before he was given the role at Preston.

Canon Andrew moved in high circles and was friends with several member of the Royal Family.

His appointment to St Thomas’s in New York was said to have raised a few eyebrows, but the Americans loved his Englishness.

Canon Andrew was in charge of a staff of 32 and four other priests at St Thomas’s Church.

New York’s rich and famous often entered its doors.

Canon Andrew was given the OBE in 1995 and later retired to England for a time, but in 1999 he returned to New York.

Newspapers reports said he had been having dinner with Bishop John O’Hara of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York on October 17 ​when he collapsed and died.

His former colleague James Barnett said on a website: “I was John Andrew’s curate in Preston, while also teaching at Hutton Grammar School.

“I remember him with fondness and gratitude.”