Waldensian Review No 130 Summer 2017 - Page 12

When a friend of the Waldensians dies, I usually discover how little I knew of him/her apart from their interest in the history of my Church and people. And what amazing lives they had! (Tony Earl and Ruth Cowhig will be remembered next time). Bill Pickering (1922–2016) I met Bill Pickering, who left us in May 2016, in the early 1990s when he lived in Oxford; he was a guest speaker for us at least once and almost never missed a Waldensian ‘awayday’ ever since. His great interest be- ing the sociology of religious persecution, he was obviously interested in the Walden- sians, especially those living on the French side of the Alps. He had done a great deal of research there, where in the decade 1981–91 he and his wife Carol used to spend the summer. As his stepson John, Rector of St Mary’s Newmarket with Exning St Agnes’, tells, they always preferred living in a some- what basic presbytery, rather than finding more comfortable accommodation. Having good contacts with the Societe de l’Histoire Bill and Carol Pickering. du Protestantisme Français, he published various articles in their annual bulletin. He lectured profusely on this subject and also wrote a booklet that we have for sale and that still attracts interest. He was also an expert on Canon W.J. Gilly, the great benefactor to the Waldensians on the Italian side of the Alps and founder of our Committee. Some years ago, I organised for Bill to give a lecture to the students of Collegio Valdese in Torre Pellice about the man who had the idea and found the money for building an English-style College – called Trin- ity College, as a matter of fact – for preparing future ministers and teachers. Bill was a linguist, an anthropologist, an ordained priest of the Church of England, an ex-WWII RAF radio mechanic in India. He was devoted to the approach on Sociology and Religion as offered by Durkheim and was one of the founders of the British Centre for Durkhemian Studies. He taught at King’s College London, at the University of Newcastle and in the States and preached in wide variety of churches. After moving to Coton with his mother, he became friends with Donald Hardy, Rector of Coton, and his family. When Donald fell ill and eventually died, Bill helped his widow Carol and their four sons through that difficult time. Eventually they got married in 1979. Carol told me that the beret and the briefcase that he was always carrying were still the same he was wearing when she first met him. She enjoyed 31 happy years with Donald and 37 equally 10