Gainsborough: Tributes paid to former Gainsborough curate, The Very Revd David Leaning

Very Rev David Leaning , former Dean of Southwell Minster.
Very Rev David Leaning , former Dean of Southwell Minster.
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Tributes have been paid to a former Gainsborough curate and Dean of Southwell Minster, The Very Revd David Leaning, who passed away aged 78.

The Very Revd David Leaning died on Tuesday, July 28 and tributes have been paid to a “wonderful man” who was the inspiration behind major developments at Southwell Minster, such as the original development of the refectory and shop in its present building, the education centre, and the unveiling of the new Great West Window.

Educated at Keble College, Oxford, he was ordained in 1961.

He was a curate in Gainsborough at the start of his 50 year career.

David then held incumbencies in Warsop and Kington before being appointed Archdeacon of Newark.

In 1991 he became Provost of Southwell and, when the title changed on March 19, 2000, Dean of Southwell until 2006.

A former Bishop of the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham, the Rt Revd George Cassidy, worked with David, and described him as a man of prayer.

Bishop George said: “He was a counsellor and confidant to many laity and clergy and was much sought after as a mentor and spiritual director.

“David was kind, generous and thoughtful and many people were recipients of prayer cards and bookmarks on the eve of a new venture or significant occasion in their lives.

“His faithful, steady ministry in the county of Nottinghamshire saw him serve as Rector of Warsop, Archdeacon of Newark and then Provost, later Dean, of Southwell.

“His pastoral energy and foresight in the care of others brought much solace and hope in difficult situations.

“As a custodian of the wonderful Southwell Minster he was scrupulous in his care and enhancement of the fabric and he was fastidious in the care of the liturgy and music.”

The Rt Revd Tony Porter, Bishop of Sherwood, said: “He was a man of exceptional warmth and wisdom.

“Like many others, when I first met him he made me feel special.

“He had that rare but important gift of listening with care.

“He loved God and he loved people. We thank God for a true pastor.”

In 2003, David was awarded an Honorary degree by Nottingham Trent University in recognition of his work in Notts for more than 35 years, particularly for his enthusiasm in promoting young people’s participation in the community.

He also played a key role in setting up the Sacrista Prebend Retreat House opposite Southwell Minster, a place for spiritual growth, which was something he was very passionate about.

In retirement, David was chaplain to the parish of St Mary Magdalene, Lincoln.

He later moved to Fishbourne, Sussex.