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The Revd Stanley Goodall: 1914-2018

'Known for a very dedicated and energetic approach to ministry, particularly work with young people'


Stanley GoodallStanley Goodall was born in Batley, West Yorkshire on 28 November 1914, the youngest child of James Richard and Martha Ann Goodall. He had a brother, Clement, and sister Janet. An older daughter, Ada, had died in infancy. He attended Healey Elementary School and Batley Grammar School, where he succeeded in passing the matriculation exam but decided to leave school, believing incorrectly that the family could not afford his continued education.

He worked for Montague Burton’s tailors, becoming the manager of the Batley branch at the age of 26, coinciding with the start of the second world war. In the 1930s he had embraced pacifist convictions but as he learned more about the Nazi regime he changed his mind and volunteered for the Royal Navy, starting as an Ordinary Seaman and serving on various ships, notably the cruiser HMS Glasgow in the Mediterranean, then going through the Suez canal and finishing up in Singapore. There, an application he had made for officer training was successful and he was ordered to return to England, which he did, narrowly missing the Japanese invasion of Singapore! He was taken by ship up the west coast of America and then across Canada on the Canadian Pacific Railroad, to join a ship for England, thus circumnavigating the globe, and all at the King’s expense!

At the age of 21 he had met Harriett Hannah Barron, a teacher from County Durham and a Primitive Methodist local preacher. They became engaged, but the war hindered their wedding plans until December 1943, when he was given 36 hours leave from a decoy station on the Kent marshes, and they were married in Ferryhill Village Methodist Church, County Durham, before hurrying back to Kent and their honeymoon at the Royal Fountain Hotel in Sheerness dockland. During his time in Sheerness, Stanley attended Minster Road Baptist Church, then known as Halfway Mission, and was credited with the idea that led to a building fund and ultimately the completion of their present building. Harriett returned to Ferryhill for a time and became the first married woman teacher in County Durham. Stanley served on an armed trawler based in Freetown, escorting Atlantic convoys and all too frequently having to rescue the crews of ships that had been sunk by uboats. During that time he was briefly a prisoner of the Vichy French in West Africa, and also contracted malaria.

Their wartime experience contributed to Stanley and Harriett hearing the call of God into ministry. He trained at Rawdon College, Leeds and served Baptist churches in Nottingham (the Chase), Idle (Bradford), Keighley (Albert Street and Slack Lane, Oakworth), and Wakefield. After a brief retirement pastorate in Canonbie, Dumfreisshire (United Free Church of Scotland), they moved to Todmorden and the part-time pastorate of Vale Baptist Church, Cornholme. He was known for a very dedicated and energetic approach to ministry, particularly work with young people. The churches he served experienced remarkable growth at times, and a large number of people were baptised during his ministry.

Harriett died in 1993 at the age of 90. Stanley, who was 79 at the time, continued in Todmorden until he entered sheltered accommodation at Royd Court, Mirfield, part of Pilgrim Homes, in January 2012.

Stanley and Harriett had one son, Brian, also a Baptist minister, three granddaughters and four great-grandchildren. Many people have cause to give thanks for his life.

Brian Goodall




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