Diocese of ChichesterDiocese of Chichester

Tributes paid to Bishop Colin Docker

Tributes paid to Bishop Colin Docker

Funeral arrangements:

11am, Friday 14th November at Exeter Cathedral.  

The service will be held in the nave of the Cathedral.  Canon Ian Morter will preside and Canon Andrew Godsall will preach, the Cathedral choir will also be in attendance.


Canon Derek Tansill pays tribute to former Bishop of Horsham, Colin Docker, who died on Tuesday November 4.

It was within a short time of his arrival as Bishop of Chichester that Dr Eric Kemp had to appoint a new Bishop of Horsham following Simon Phipp’s move to Lincoln. His decision to nominate Colin Docker was an inspired choice and came as no surprise to all who knew him. Colin was a significant figure in the diocese having served as Vicar of Midhurst then Seaford and ultimately Vicar and Rural dean of Eastbourne. He had also chaired the body set up to consider the reorganisation of the diocese which resulted in what became known as the Docker Report.

As Bishop of Horsham (1984–1991) Colin knew his clergy well and was tireless in visiting the parishes in his area. He had a strong pastoral heart and was never happier than when engaging with the congregations of his churches. He was a popular preacher with a good strong voice and communicated well with people of all ages. In everything he was wonderfully supported by his wife Thelma who seemed to keep open house for clergy and their wives, provided excellent hospitality, but also took great care to see that Colin had space for himself and his family to whom he was devoted. Both he and Thelma were great supporters of the Mothers’ Union throughout the diocese at a time when that organisation was going through a period of great change. Colin was a keen ecumenist and will be remembered for the fine work which he did in furthering relations between the Anglican and Old Catholic Churches.

Chichester’s loss in 1991 was Exeter’s gain where Colin served long and well as an assistant bishop. He was a fine servant of the Lord.

The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, added, “I am grateful to Canon Derek Tansill for his reflections on the life of Bishop Colin Docker. We who inherit the fruits of Bishop Colin’s ministry pray that he may rest in peace and receive the reward of his ministry on earth, in a share - in its fullness - of the glory of heaven.”