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Hundreds turn out to pay last respects to much-loved figure

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Scores of people waited outside St Gregory’s Church last week to pay their last respects to a much loved figure as Sudbury said goodbye to Reverend Canon Gregory Webb.

Well before the ceremony had started the church was full as family, friends and parishioners from Sudbury and Canon Webb’s previous congregations came to pay their respects.

Fortunately the sun shone on proceedings, allowing many attendees to listen via speakers in the church grounds.

It was a fitting tribute to a known and well respected figure in the community who died on Friday, August 7, from cancer.

Described a generous man, whose smile could light up the room even in the last weeks of his life.

Tributes from friends and relatives spoke of his love of all sport and his competitive nature.

His son Nick told of his strong belief in the philosophy that if something was worth doing it was worth doing properly.

He also spoke of his love for walking in the Lake District, his ever present faith and his love for his family, his wife Jackie, his three children and his five grandchildren.

A number of figures from the local community were in attendance, along with many of his parishioners, having been in charge of St Gregory’s church in Sudbury and Rural Dean for Sudbury.

Deputy town mayor Sue Ayres who was in attendance said the number of attendees was evidence of the kind and caring man Canon Webb was: “He’s touched so many people, it’s his outpouring of love,” she said.

“People who are not church goers loved Greg. He touched people so beautifully.

“He was how every Christian should be, he treated everybody equally.”

Mrs Ayres spoke fondly of Canon Webb’s final open letter to his parishioners in which he spoke about coming to terms with his terminal illness and appreciating life to its fullest.

The former solicitor entered the ministry in 1991 and had been at St Gregory’s for seven years.

He had helped drive the £250,000 renovation of the 14th century church with a new gallery, toilets and kitchen area.

Heavily involved in the local community, he was also a governor of St Gregory’s and Tudor primary schools as well as holding the post of chaplain of the local Royal Air Force Association.

His colleague at Sudbury, the Reverend Helen Mitchell, Associate Priest, said: “Greg was a lovely man and a wonderful priest, an inspiring preacher and leader and a caring pastor.”

Describing the ceremony she said it was “wonderful”.

“It was a real testament to how much the people of Sudbury respected and loved Greg. There was even more people than we thought there would be.

“He had an ever present smile for everyone not matter who they were. He really served the town of Sudbury. He really did a lot.”

The service was conducted by Rev Mitchell along with Canon Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury, who returned from his holidays early especially to be at the service.

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