Blennerhassett, Eric W.
1921-2018; e.m.1947

Born in Erdington, Birmingham on 13 August 1921 into a Methodist family, and the son of a local preacher. A move to Stratford on Avon led to his early introduction to the theatre and he was encouraged at church to active involvement in both storytelling and amateur dramatics. Joining the Territorial Army just before the outbreak of war, his military service made him aware of its devastating effects on ordinary people and led him to offer for the ministry; and in 1945 he was sent to Handsworth College. After six years of circuit work in St Albans and Birmingham he trained as a radio and television presenter and became involved in such programmes as ‘Songs of Praise’ and ‘Sunday Half Hour’. Then in 1965 he joined the Churches Television Centre at Bushey, training both clergy and laity. In 1970 he became a member of the Churches Consultation Group at a time when the BBC was setting up regional radio stations.

Returning to circuit work in 1976 as Superintendent of the Winchester and then the Portsmouth Circuits, enabled him to encourage churches to use drama in their worship and then in Portsmouth to respond to the problem of homelessness. He retired in 1981 to Chichester, attracted by proximity to the Festival Theatre and the beauty of the South Downs, and in his closing years was a member of the ecumenical Christ Church. He wrote a drama documentary about Bishop George Bell and the World Council of Churches which had held its first meeting in Chichester. His other dramatic ventures and productions varied between John Keats’ ‘The Eve of St. Agnes’ and the life of St. Wilfrid of Chichester.

He died on12 May 2018.aged 96.

Sources

Methodist Recorder, 30 November 2018