Tribute to ‘amazing’ Sam

The Reverend Sam Connolly.

The Reverend Sam Connolly. - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to ‘a wonderful mission man’ and Methodist minister, who was so popular that two services were held in his memory.

The Reverend Samuel Connolly was honoured at Sidmouth Methodist Church last Wednesday, due to the large number of people who wanted to attend.

Another celebration in his memory was held the previous Monday at the Haywards Heath Methodist Church.

Rev Connolly died on Saturday, January 31, in Sussex at the age of 96. He requested that his body is used for medical research.

Sam, as he was known to his friends, spent his retirement in Ottery St Mary with his wife Gertie after dedicating his life to God.

Born on July 18 1918, in Bedfordshire, Reverend Connolly excelled in his training as an optician and was offered a job at an esteemed Harley Street practice.

The call to the ministry was stronger and through it he met Gertie. The couple married in 1949.

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The Reverend Allan Bowers of Sidmouth Methodist Church, first met Sam when he started attending the Hartley Victoria Theological College in Manchester in 1948.

The lifelong Manchester City fan was the ‘David Beckham’ of the college team and also was sports secretary for the table tennis, cricket, football and rugby club.

Rev Bowers said: “Sam had a distinguished ministry serving in a variety of circuits. He was a wonderful mission man, whose joy was to preach Christ as saviour.

“I thank God for Sam’s friendship, his amazing wit and his generosity.”

After his retirement to East Devon, Mr Connolly led assemblies at Sidmouth College.

The Reverend Brian Hadfield said he had the rare quality of relating to the students – often ending to applause and laughter.

In his eulogy to Sam, Reg Ammon said: “In his own words ‘I would like to believe the youngsters came to hear my words of wisdom, but I know many of them were drawn by Gertie’s chocolate cake.’”

He added: There were people at one or other of the services from all of his old churches. It says something that 60 years on, so many people travelled so far.”

Mr Ammon also reserved praise for Lucy Hunt, who Mr Connolly depended on after the death of his wife.

Cheques can be made payable to MMHS re S Connolly and to The Methodist Housing Society, 3rd Floor, Methodist Church House, 25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR