Fr Geoffrey Lynch

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FATHER Geoffrey Lynch, of Ampleforth Abbey who was secretary to Abbot Basil Hume, Abbot Ambrose Griffiths, Abbot Patrick Barry and Abbot Timothy Wright, has died, aged 86.

Christopher Lynch (Geoffrey was the name given to him when he became a Benedictine monk in 1948) was born in Wallasey in 1926 and educated at Ampleforth. From 1944 to 1948, he was in the RAF Voluntary Reserve and Royal Air Force. It was while he was based at the Aircrew Receiving Centre in Torquay and training for the Japanese war that Christopher heard the call to be a monk.

In June 1948, he joined a 230-mile pilgrimage walking from Wrexham to the national shrine of Our Lady in Walsingham, and then in September that year he joined the monastic community at Ampleforth. Fr Geoffrey was ordained priest in July 1957 and worked for some time in the Junior House, where he became Assistant Housemaster.

In August 1968, Fr Geoffrey was appointed secretary to the then Abbot of Ampleforth, Basil Hume.

He continued in this role under Abbot Hume’s successors – Ambrose Griffiths (1976-1984) and Patrick Barry (1984-1994) – and combined it with a number of roles that he was asked to carry out in the community and beyond, particularly that of Novice Master at Ampleforth (1976-1983) and Prior of St Bede’s Monastery and Pastoral Centre in York (1987-1994).

In 1994, Fr Geoffrey was appointed parish priest of the Lancashire parish of St Joseph’s, Brindle.

Five years later he returned to the Abbey and became secretary to Abbot Timothy Wright, a post he filled until 2002, as well as parish priest of Our Lady and the Holy Angels in Gilling East.

In February 2006, Fr Geoffrey was involved in a serious car accident which necessitated seven months in hospitals and the amputation of one leg above the knee.

Undeterred, he took up a number of duties within the community, including time as assistant monastery librarian, chair of the staff association, and part-time receptionist.

During his 60 years as a monk, Fr Geoffrey served as secretary or member of a number of groups and was editor of the Benedictine Yearbook from 2001 to 2006.

The funeral mass for Fr Geoffrey Lynch took place yesterday in Ampleforth Abbey and was followed by burial in the vault in the Monks’ Wood.