Tributes to former Wellingborough vicar famed for his colourful socks, selfies and hop, skip and jumping through life

A well-known Wellingborough vicar, who originally trained as a painter and decorator, has died at the age of 81.

Tuesday, 19th November 2019, 10:40 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th November 2019, 10:41 am
Canon Haydn Smart

Canon Haydn Christopher Smart was priest-in-charge of All Saints Church, Wellingborough, from 1982 to 1992 and was a well-known visitor to All Saints CE Primary School where he was a governor, retirement homes and Scout groups.

After leaving All Saints Canon Smart had moved to Peterborough to St Botolph’s, Longthorpe, and also had roles as the Rural Dean of Peterborough and chaplain at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice in the city.

Son Chris Smart paid tribute to his father. He said: "Up to three months ago, Haydn was regularly riding his bike around Castor and was out running every morning sometimes in his wellie boots. He was also regularly taking weddings and funerals and services at various local churches.

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"Wherever he has worked he has become a pillar of the local community. Many people have recalled their memories of his sense of humour, his warmth, his wonderful smile and the twinkle in his eye.

"They remember his colourful socks peeping under his robe in church, him waving to them every morning over the fence while he was jogging, and how he encouraged children to eat the sweets off their Christingle orange."

Mr Smart was born in Wollaston but moved to Wellingborough during the Second World War.

He left school when he was 15 to join his father's painting and decorating business but it was when volunteering at a youth group at St Barnabas Church, Wellingborough that a vicar suggested he should join the church.

Canon Haydn Smart

At the age of 21, he enrolled the Church Army where he met his future wife Vera. They married in 1964 and moved to Somerset to begin his theological training in 1966.

After ordination, Mr and Mrs Smart and their young family of Libby, Chris and Katie, moved back to Northamptonshire where he was vicar at St Mary's in Woodford Halse from 1975 to 1982 - from there he moved to Wellingborough.

In 1985, he hit the headlines in the Evening Telegraph when, in his role assisting the Deaf Chaplain, he met Diana, Princess of Wales in Northampton and again when his pet guinea fowl escaped from their coop after being spooked by a fox.

Chris added: "He was a wonderful, loving, understanding and devoted husband of 55 years. He was a generous, kind, supportive father with strong family values.

"He was an amazing and fun grandfather and never shied away from selfies, Snapchat, dance crazes, and regularly played board games and created many family traditions.

"He hopped, skipped and jumped through life, quite literally."

Mr Smart leaves children Libby, Chris and Katie and daughter-in-law Jane and grandchildren of Bethany, Jacob, Victoria and Thomas.

His coffin will be brought into St Kyneburgha’s Church, Castor, on Friday, November 22 and the church will be open on this day between 1pm and 5pm for those who wish to pay their respects.

A Requiem Eucharist in Celebration and Thanksgiving for his life and ministry will take place at Castor church at noon on Saturday November 23.

Family flowers only are requested, donations towards Haydn’s favourite charities may be given at the service.