Monkland is mourning the death of Richard Ebrey, 87, who served the parish church of All Saints as churchwarden for 50 years, writes PETE BLENCH.

Mr Ebrey, a former civil servant, who played the violin, loved music and was an enthusiastic fan of Aston Villa football club. But the church was the main focus of his life.

He rarely missed services and undertook countless jobs from caring for the churchyard to putting on the heating on Saturday to warm up the church for Sunday services.


Mr Ebrey - known as Dick - put his 'fiddle' to good use in 1959. He used to accompany the church choir at practice sessions when he coached the choristers for a major competition in Hereford. They won.

Parishioners, friends and family members feted him and presented him with gifts when he retired after half a century as churchwarden in June 2000. Monkland PCC secretary Wendy Jancey said Mr Ebrey, who served five vicars in his time, had an unsurpassed record of service to the church.

"He was absolutely dedicated," said Mrs Jancey.

The widower was being cared for at a local nursing home at the time of his death. He is survived by three sons who live in other parts of the country.

The funeral service was held at Monkland Church where Dick Ebrey was laid to rest in the churchyard he looked after for so many years.