FLINTSHER LEADER, under the heading: OUR LOCAL HERO. It
read as follows
‘A RETIRED Flintshire vicar who recreates the spirit of St Francis of
Assisi by blessing our four legged friends has been nominated as a hero
for taking care of everyone. The Rev James Thompson, of Holywell,
yesterday held his ninth annual animal blessing service at Bethel Chapel
and it is this ceremony that has gained him hero status amongst those
who know him.
Sheila Stewart, of the Capricorn Animal Rescue, Padeswood, nominated
the Rev Thompson for his selfless devotion to everyone he knows. "He is
always there to help people," says Sheila. "And though he is known as
the Animal Padre, he is there for people as well. He seems to take care
of everybody, she says "That is why I wanted to nominate him.
Rev Thompson, 76, and known affectionately as the Animal Padre, still
offers his pastoral services to local residents, despite having been
retired for 10 years. For the Rev Thompson the animal services, which he
has performed all over Europe, play a key role in his faith. "People ask
me if there will be animals in Heaven, he says. "I say that if there was
room in the Garden of Eden, then there must be room in Heaven.
But the real purpose of this modern day St Francis's mission is to
generate respect for the vulnerable, a message he believes should resonate across society and a message he learned as a child. "I was
first inspired to dedicate myself to the needs of animals by a great
Quaker teacher at the Council School in Holywell," he said.
It was in 1983, during the period when he fulfilled the post of a
senior hospital chaplaincy in Aberdeen that the Rev Thompson - having
pioneered his animal blessings since 1971 earned the label of the Animal
Padre. This title was given to him by one of the patients and he happily
uses it to this day, but as far as being a hero, the Rev Thompson is not
so sure. “T am happy to have the title of Animal Padre, he says. "But as
for being a hero, I really don't know if I am one of those All I do is
try to send out a message that the vulnerable should be cared for,
whether it is animal or human. This is what I do in life.’
I am grateful to dear Sheila Stewart, founder of Capricorn Animal
Rescue, who – certainly unknown to myself! - put me forward for this
local award. Regrettably, she had not been able to attend the service
herself due to temporary illness, most probably resulting from over
working at her sanctuary.
Go on to Two Ways Of Evading
Return to Autumn 2006 Issue