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St Paul's says a final goodbye to its dear friend, Maurice Sills, 101

With great sadness, St Paul's has said goodbye to its dear friend Maurice Sills, aged 101.

Maurice's funeral will be at St Paul's at 5pm on Tuesday 11 July. There will be no advance tickets for the service, which will be held under the Dome. 

Maurice passed away on the afternoon of 25 June 2017 at the care home where he was resident in north London, having returned there after a stay in hospital in May. 

Maurice, a volunteer at the Cathedral since the 1970s, would have turned 102 in July. Even well past his century he remained one of the most active people at the Cathedral, coming in by Tube most days from north London, and spending most of his time at the Cathedral School where he would read to the youngest pupils.
 
He was also the Cathedral's 'go-to' proof-reader, casting his eye over orders of service to pick up any errors in copy.
 
A former teacher, Maurice remained passionate about education but also had a great love of sport, particularly cricket. For decades he made good use of his cricket membership both of Middlesex and the MCC at Lord's, as well as their London rivals Surrey at the Oval.
 
And if that wasn't enough, Maurice was also a regular in the Carrow Road stands of Norwich City Football Club, a team he followed his entire life.
 
The oldest of six boys, Maurice was born in 1915 and grew up in South London. In the Second World War he joined the Royal Navy, serving as a Petty Officer in the North Atlantic and off Africa.
 
After the War, he was married to Ellen and trained to become a teacher. He went on to become a head teacher and retired 40 years ago. Up until he died he was receiving letters from former pupils paying tribute to the support and encouragement he had given them.
 
In his time volunteering at the St Paul's Cathedral School he saw many children come and go, but had a particular soft spot for a certain Alastair Cook, former England Test captain, who he remembered scoring 110 out of a total of 127 in a game against Westminster Abbey.
 
To celebrate his 100th birthday Maurice was interviewed at Lord's, and described what it was like to watch the greatest cricketer of them all, Sir Donald Bradman.

 

Listen to Maurice interviewed at Lord's and describing watching the great Sir Donald Bradman

The Very Reverend David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s said: "We talk of well-known people sometimes as national treasures; but to all who knew him, Maurice was a humble, loving and much-loved treasure himself, who gave himself to others and whom it has been a joy to know. 

"The presentation of the St Mellitus medal by the Bishop of London in 2014, awarded in recognition of substantial contribution to the Christian life of London, and the marking of his own century were times for celebration of friendship and service; and the fulfilment of his vocation in teaching meant so much to him till the last.
 
"Maurice has been ready and waiting for the call to leave us for some years, and now is in the peace which he looked for; perhaps his only disappointment would be missing the opportunity of a last match or two at Lord's. 

"Of all the treasures of St Paul’s, none has been more valued than Maurice Sills; we have been praying for him daily during his last days. It was a privilege to know him, and he will be greatly missed by his friends of all ages, in all parts of this country and around the world."
 
Maurice will be commended to God at the 12.30pm Eucharist at St Paul's on Tuesday 27 June. 

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.