Heath Old Boys Association


The Rt Revd Donald Patrick Nestor: [Heath 1950–1957]

Donald Nestor died on 10th January 2003 aged 64. He was born in Calcutta, but grew up in Halifax. From Heath he went to Exeter College, Oxford, where he read Theology and completed his theological training at The Queen’s College, Birmingham. After spending several years as curate, first near Dewsbury, then in Portsmouth diocese, Donald first went to Southern Africa in 1972, and for the next seven years he was chaplain at the National University of Lesotho. The Daily Telegraph obituary says that, This was an important post at a time when the oppressive policies of the then government of South Africa were being experienced in a country wholly dependent economically on its neighbour! From 1974 Donald also became responsible for training the next generation of priests to take over leadership of the church.

In 1979 he was elected Suffragan Bishop of Lesotho, which enabled an African diocesan bishop to be appointed. He became famous in the country for spreading the Word of God to places difficult to reach by riding on horseback to get there.

In 1992 Donald returned to England, his missionary task completed, and accepted the invitation of the Bishop of Blackburn to become vicar at Bretherton, near Preston, and to serve as assistant Bishop in his diocese. He provided outstanding pastoral leadership, conducting courses on spirituality for the clergy, among many other activities. Two years ago he moved to Durham, taking temporary vows to enter the monastic Society of the Sacred Mission at St Anthony’s Priory. He was a ‘much-loved pastor of gentle disposition and evident spirituality.’

Donald’s last contact with Heath was probably when he gave the Address at the Founder’s Day service to mark the 400th anniversary held in Halifax Parish Church on . The newsletter reported that Donald recalled the fact that he had given the Address at the Founder’s Day service twenty-five years previously, and indeed had chosen the same text as he had on the last occasion.

The funeral was held at Durham Cathedral on . David Bottomley attended on behalf of the HOBA, and reports that it was a ‘magnificent affair’ — seven bishops in their mitres, 20 or more clergy in their robes, a full choir and a celebration of Communion following the two addresses — one by Canon Roy Tovey, a former Archdeacon of Lesotho, testifying to Donald’s work in that country, and one by the Bishop of Durham outlining his career in the Church. Two ladies from Lesotho in their colourful national costumes sang a church song from that country. The service was conducted by Fr Jonathon Ewer, of the monastery to which Donald had retired in 2000.

Donald is survived by his father, sister and brother Christopher to whom we send our deepest sympathy.

The above has been compiled from obituaries that appeared in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ and the ‘Church Times.’ Many thanks also to the Revd Alan Robinson and to David Bottomley for supplying further information.

First appeared in the Newsletter dated .