Church minister who served in Kettering, Corby and Brigstock has died

Stanley Whiffen
Stanley Whiffen

Former church minister the Rev Stanley Whiffen has died at the age of 81.

Rev Whiffen, who was a minister at Kettering, Corby and Brigstock United Reformed Churches, passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, May 16, surrounded by his family.

He was born in Plaistow, east London on September 29, 1933. He contracted polio as a child and as a result was not evacuated during the war but stayed with his parents in the East End, in his own words “playing and exploring bomb sites”.

His life in the church began when his aunt took him to the Methodist church in Custom House and by the age of 14 Stanley was a Sunday school teacher there. One of his class was a 12-year-old girl called Rosemary – the girl with whom he would fall in love and spend the rest of his life.

Stanley became a trainee photographer and then an apprentice draughtsman at Tate & Lyle in East London. But by the time the couple married in 1954 Stanley knew his calling was to God and he trained for the ministry at Paton Congregational College, Nottinghan.

He was ordained and inducted at his first church, Dalston and Rectory Road Congregational Church in 1960, the same year as the couple’s first son Martin was born.

After Rosemary gave birth to twins Andrew and Peter in 1966, Stanley and his young family moved to new ministries in Colchester, Essex and Spalding, Lincs, before arriving in Kettering in 1982.

He was minister at London Road, Brigstock and Corby URCs for 10 years and during that time also served at Danesholme Community Church.

He retired in 1992 and later moved to Huntingdon where he continued to enjoy his other lifelong passion, boats. Over the years he built or owned everything from 10ft dinghies to 42ft narrowboats. He also loved art and was proud at the age of 70 to gain a BA (Hons) History of Art degree with the Open University in 2003.

Stanley’s life will be remembered at a special service at St Ives Free Church, St Ives, Cambs at 2.30pm on Wednesday, June 3. He is survived by his wife Rosemary and sons Martin, Andrew and Peter.