You are here >> Home >> Membership >> Obituary for Peter Woodward

Peter Woodward 10th March, 1933 - 9 July, 2019
Teacher, Lecturer and Founder Shap Member

It is hard to know where to begin to talk about the contributions that Peter made both to the world of religious education but also to the Shap Working Party of World Religions.

Peter taught religious Education at Nork Park bilateral school in Barnstead before joining the Diversity Department at Brough Road College of Education, Isleworth. In April 1969 he was part of the foundation of Shap in 1969. In 1973 Peter moved to work in the Advisory service in Birmingham and then was part of the first Shap oversea's course in Istanbul. Whilst in Birmingham Peter was instrumental in the development of the multi-faith syllabus that would define the future of RE both in that city and wider. Peter finished his working career at Homerton College in Cambridge - but certainly did not stop working.

In 50 years Peter has served in pretty much every office of Shap being its chair in 1978-80, its secretary in 1972-73 and 2016-19, its treasurer in 1969-71 and the journal editor in 1969-1977 and the calendar editor from 1969-1975; 1995-1999 and 2009-2019.

Peter had an unwavering desire for accuracy and precision both essential qualities for the production of a calendar; but whilst he was meticulous and unwilling to tolerate any errors he did so with humour, kindness and humility; oft diminishing his own substantial role whilst making sure others were credited. His dedication to 'getting things done' and done well were an inspiration - and the only time he might not be on task would be when there was rugby or tennis to be watched!

Peter will be missed.

Paul Hopkins - chair Shap (2015-2019)


Peter Woodward - moments of reflection

Over the past 25 years of regular contact with Peter, I would like to record what a privilege it has been to share special times of both professional and personal friendship and the enjoyment of working together. Peter was always a man of dignity and stature and in his efforts on behalf of Shap he was unstinting.  Of course alongside him was Pat and it was always lovely to see them both together.
I think I first really became aware of Peter when he and Pat visited our home in London. Ostensibly this was to look at photos to develop the second edition of the Shap Festivals in World Religions book. It was at that point after lunch that Peter said to Gill & I, ‘Do you like boats and sailing?’ Neither of us had much experience of this at all. Peter had recently brought his vessel around from the South coast to moor it in the Thames near Maidenhead. So on the appointed day, off we set not really anticipating what we would see when we arrived. Arriving at the moorings, we passed many small craft but the walk continued until we came to a 32’ monster boat! It really was a magnificent craft.

We then spent a wonderful day together sharing the beauty of our surroundings, imbibing lightly but thoroughly enjoying each other’s company.  The day was not over for us as we were invited to an annual dinner event  that evening with the other boat owners. Peter & Pat looked the part as we rubbed shoulders with the maritime wealthy, for us it was a wonderful yet unique occasion.
Shortly after that Peter and Pat chased the Mediterranean sun and moved to Saint Luis in Menorca. Come and stay with us was the invitation, so we did! We swam in their pool,  visited local sites and enjoyed the festivities of the island and the warm hospitality of their home. Peter had a small craft with an outboard and Pat asked if we would help Peter launch this vessel once more. He ably manoeuvred the vessel from car trailer to sea. He meticulously made all the necessary safety checks and off we set for a few hours of idyllic meandering. This was the last occasion for Peter to use this boat but it was a special day in a lovely weeks holiday! I believe he was going to use a few photos from this shared week for the Shap calendar next year.

Over the years I don’t know how many times I had to apologize to Peter for being late with photographic contributions for the Shap calendars. He was a man for detail, precision and accuracy. He enabled the calendar to be produced on time and for the past couple of decades has been a key driving force for the success achieved by the Shap Working Party, especially the pictorial calendar.

I can truthfully state that I loved both Peter and Pat. Peter will be sorely missed by all who loved him, I pray that God’s peace will be with you

David Rose