After 12 years as Caretaker and Hall Lettings Manager, Ian Clark retired in January 2015. We wish Ian and his wife Dorothy the very best in their new life. Here are tributes to them from members of the church.
“I would like to wish Ian and Dorothy well in their retirement and thank them firstly for being so supportive to us every time we have visited NUC and secondly for the energy and enthusiasm he put into his work as halls manager. Much of it was probably unseen but the fruits were in the way the building was used by various groups. There was a positive encouragement for trying out new things, I think particularly of his support for the earth spirit weekend last summer. I remember too his enthusiasm for the concerts and how well they were received. When I first met Ian we discovered we had both been parachutists in the army, so we had much in common and it was the basis of our strong friendship. We shall keep in touch I am sure.” Rev.Tony McNeile
“Just to say a big ‘Thank you’ to Dorothy and Ian for their hard work and dedication over the years. They have always made me feel welcome at the Church. Hope they have a very happy and long retirement!” Hannah Bergman
“May I add my appreciation and thanks to the marvelous work, time and effort that Ian and Dorothy have put into the Church over so many years. The premises have been kept immaculate and with Ian’s dedication and skill, even as water free as possible, with the dreaded flat roof. Ian’s rapport with all the people who hire the premises has been an incredible asset to the Church and its finances. We saw the finances for lettings rise from around £10,000 per year to over £40,000 at one time, which has been due in most part to Ian’s liaison and his consideration with all the people who hire the premises and with his connections obtaining customers, especially in the theatre world and regular groups such as WEA and Keep Fit who come throughout the year. Dorothy, under Ian’s persuasion, took on the editing of the Calendar and made a marvelous job of that and of course besides that Dorothy was always there to do a lot of work helping Ian and her talents with flower arrangements in the church were much appreciated by the congregation. I am sure everyone at Divine Unity will sorely miss them and I hope Ian’s health improves without the pressure of the Church, so that he and Dorothy can have a long and happy retirement in the Northumberland countryside, walking the dog, seeing family and no doubt, knowing Ian, taking on other tasks to keep himself busy.” Rosalind Johnson
“Last time I attended the church I found to my surprise that not only was Ian missing, but that he and Dorothy had in fact retired. I would like to thank Ian for the humour and compassion he brought to his role. He put an energy into the place and I liked the way he did things, for example leaving the place open so that people could come and eat their sandwiches at lunchtime. I am sure that he is going to be missed. I also remember when Mum died the support Ian gave in creating a remembrance service, including catering; a minister and a last minute panic to get an organist. For that I shall always be eternally grateful- we did give the old dame a terrific day and I am sure that she would have been pleased. She often used to say to me that she felt that she knew every brick in the building and where every penny had come from to build it. I gather that my grandfather went on a total mission during its construction. Seeing the building as it is today, does tug at the memories of when it was a thriving community with the church being full and a thriving younger congregation split between the Durant Hall and the upstairs room. I could not help but notice that the cracks were appearing and I wonder what the future may hold. Although it is very beautiful, I suspect it is not of the best design. I would love to sit in on a bureaucratic meeting of council planners, while they decided whether to give the go ahead to a building with roof heating and asbestos- I don’t see it lasting long!” Jonathan Duvall, grandson of Herbert Barnes
“Many years ago I had the good fortune to cross the threshold of our church whilst working as a sound recordist on a film crew. We were looking for a suitable location to film a wedding documentary and this church was a possibility. That was my first encounter with Ian Clark, and by the time we left I was laden down with pamphlets, brochures and my head had been filled with reasons why I should come back. And I did, and that was the beginning of a long and happy relationship with both the church and the man who persuaded me to join. It has been my privilege to count myself as one of Ian’s friends for many years now. I’ll be honest, it hasn’t always been easy. Anyone who knows him will be aware that he is strong-minded, strong-willed and is never reticent to voice his opinions – he doesn’t pussy foot about. But if ever I found myself in a tight spot, Ian was the man I would always turn to, knowing that he wouldn’t hesitate to help out in any situation, and I’m not the only one who has received his unselfish help over the years. Decisive, resourceful, energetic, I believe he has been an essential element in the survival of our church over the past few years, for which we all owe him a debt of gratitude. And you can’t talk about Ian without mentioning Dorothy who insisted on feeding me at every available opportunity. A wonderfully generous and genuinely nice person, I will miss her. They were a great team and I sincerely hope they have a long and happy retirement in their new home. But I have a feeling that it won’t be long before Ian is into something new – you can’t keep a good man down.” David Venus