CANON Howard Garside, an Anglo Catholic clergyman who once described himself as unashamedly a parish priest and “for” parish clergy, and who served the Church and Freemasonry in Yorkshire for more than 50 years, has died aged 88.
He spent his entire ministry in the Dioceses of York, Wakefield, and Ripon where after years 11 as Vicar of St Wilfrid’s Church, Harrogate and as an honorary canon of Ripon Cathedral, he retired in 1989. He continued to help in the Fountains Group of Parishes near Ripon until 2005.
Earlier he had spent 14 years as vicar of Manston, in Leeds, and was also rural dean of Whitkirk Deanery.
It was there that his being “for” parish clergy was manifested, fearing for their welfare as necessary pastoral reorganisation meant extra work and responsibility as each maintained anything up to five churches as clergy become fewer in number. He worried that they faced even greater loneliness within the profession, economic problems and less contact between parish, deanery and diocese.
Canon Garside was born in Huddersfield, the only son and the elder of two children of Joe Garside who worked in the local mill, and his wife Emily.
He was educated at Huddersfield College, before going to Leeds University and the College of the Resurrection, at Mirfield, when he was 17 to study for ordination to the priesthood which he wanted for as long as he could remember.
His studies were interrupted by the Second World War when he volunteered for the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment, serving as an officer for three years in India.
He resumed his studies after the war and, after gaining a BA, was ordained in 1951, the same year as he married Joyce Sykes whom he had met at school.
He began his ministry as a curate at St Peter’s Church, Barnsley, where he always said that he learned from a devoted vicar the value of visiting, ordered and reverent worship and to love and like people – all fundamentals for a parish priest.
After two years he moved to Middlesbrough, still as a curate, until in 1956 he was one of the first appointments of the then Bishop of Durham, Michael Ramsey – later Archbishop of Canterbury - to the living of St Aidan’s, Middlesbrough, where he spent 11 happy and formative years especially concerned with the teaching and training of young people.
In 1964 he moved to Manston. The family initially lived 10 miles away, at South Milford, during the building of a new vicarage and parish room, and his base in the parish was an old builder’s hut and his own caravan.
He was a keen caravanner and camper with his family and a lifelong supporter of Yorkshire cricket and of Huddersfield Town Football Club. In his youth he had been a keen Scout.
He was a staunch Freemason and was described by a fellow Lodge member as “a small man in stature, but a giant in every other respect”.
Canon Garside was a member of several Lodges including Captain Cook Lodge in the Province of Yorkshire, North and East Riding of which he had also been Master. He became a Provincial Officer of that Province, later being elevated to be a Grand Lodge Officer in the Grand Lodge of England.
After 50 years continuous service to Freemasonry he received The Provincial Grand Master’s certificate.
He was also appointed Provincial Grand Chaplain in 1975, and in 1985 received the rare recognition of Grand Honours as Past Assistant Grand Chaplain. He was promoted in 1997 to Past Junior Grand Deacon.”
Canon Garside is survived by Joyce, his wife of 62 years, his daughter, Susan Mary, son Stephen, five grandchildren, a great-granddaughter and by his sister.