It is with great sadness that I have to announce the death of Graham Shaw, Rector of St Giles from 1988-1995. 

Graham was a much loved and respected Rector, parish priest and friend to many in Farnborough.  He is still remembered here with much love and affection. We shall all grieve the passing of a faithful priest and a good friend, who enhanced the lives of all those he met. May he rest in peace and be raised in Glory.  The funeral service for Graham took place on Friday 7th May at Mortlake Crematorium. 

You may watch the service using this link:White Rose Funeral Services There you will also find an Obituary and the Order of Service.  When the current Covid restrictions are lifted a Memorial Service for Graham will be held at St. Giles later in the year, details of which will follow.

You are welcome to use this prayer for Graham at home if you wish:

Almighty God, on this day of parting we remember with love and gratitude Graham Shaw, former Rector of St. Giles, Priest and friend to many.  We thank you for the years of his ministry amongst us.  (A moment of silence for reflection).  For all that he gave, for all that he did and for the vision of your love and truth that he shared with us.  We thank you and praise you that through the resurrection of your Son you have promised eternal life to those who die in the faith of Christ.  We pray that you will receive the soul of this our dear brother Graham, that he may share in that vision of your glory that was his hope.  We ask this through Christ our Lord. 


Graham was born in London in 1944 and his childhood was spent in Epsom and Walton on the Hill. He attended a prep school in Hove, boarding from the age of 7. He had an inspirational Headmaster who recognised and encouraged Graham's natural interest in religion. Graham went on to Rugby School where, despite the regime of cold showers and his dislike of ball games, he became head boy.

In 1962 Graham gained admission to Worcester College, Oxford where he read history. He and his contemporaries were greatly influenced by their tutor, the historian James Campbell, who was a well known authority on Medieval and Anglo Saxon history. After obtaining his degree Graham continued theological studies at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford and he was ordained in 1960. He was then invited by Princeton University USA for an exchange after which he spent 3 months travelling through America on Greyhound buses.

In 1969 Graham became curate at Christ Church, Esher and Holy Trinity, Claygate where the incumbent was Canon Adrian Carey, who in retirement assisted at St Giles. Graham then became Rector of the rural parish of Winford in Somerset and this was followed by the appointment of Chaplain and Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford. Among the many students he taught was David Kirkwood, who later became the curate at St. Nicholas.

Inspired by academia, on leaving Oxford, Graham spent a couple of years writing and he published two theological books. He accepted the post of Rector of Farnborough in 1987. Life became very busy and he threw his energies into all aspects of parish life. He was a familiar figure walking around dressed in his black cassock. He was presented with two albums when he retired and looking at them now you can get a glimpse of a busy working life. There were 2 weekday services at 7am and 10am followed by 4 services on Sunday. In 1994 for example, there were 49 weddings and lots of baptisms. A list of activities included the set up of a computer system, the appointment of the Parish secretary (and what a good choice - she is still with us now!), a parish wide pantomime at St. Nicholas, Christian Aid sponsored walk of 20 miles requiring planners and marshals as well as walkers, a holiday club for children at St Nicholas and adventure week at St Giles, the pram service and the buggy club. There was an animal service with a disobedient goat and a noisy parrot!

A good many meals took place - Harvest, St Nicholas Patronal Festival, Christmas supper for house group members and Safari suppers amongst others. Outings to cathedral cites including one to Rochester where the choir sang Evensong and Graham preached - a never to be forgotten occasion!

For some time the church was full of scaffolding whilst a complete redecoration took place and services took place in the school and the centre. When it came to Christmas, Graham had his own rules for displaying his many cards - he left them up until Candlemas which always led to much discussion!

Retirement came for Graham in 1995. He continued to write and read and made excellent use of his membership of the British Library. He was a seasoned traveller with a well trained eye for architecture, sculpture and painting. His greatest love was the Romanesque. He started to attend the Friends Meeting House in Richmond and became a Quaker.

In 2002 he and his partner, Jorge, bought a village house in South West France which he loved and they made many friends (including a neighbour's dog who adored being walked by Graham!). Here spiritual solace was obtained at the nearby abbey of Sylvanes, which also held an annual sacred musical festival. In London, Graham and Jorge lived in an apartment in Kingston, in a tranquil and beautiful location by the Thames. When his health started to deteriorate, Graham never complained and he kept active. He died peacefully on April 21st, in the care of the Princess Alice Hospice in Esher. He is survived by his partner, Jorge Toro.

Julia Hoadley

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