Rodborough Parish Church

Rev. Awdry

Wilbert & Margaret Awdry

The Revd Awdry with his wife

Wilbert Awdry was born in Romsey in 1911. He gained his love of trains from his father, who was also a Vicar. In 1917, Awdry’s family moved to Box in Wiltshire – just a short distance from the main Great Western Line, which encouraged his love of the railways.

Wilbert spent several years in Palestine and it was whilst out there that he met his wife, Margaret. They were married in 1938.

Wilbert was ordained on St Thomas’ Day 1936 and achieved over 60 years as a priest. It was during this time that he wrote his famous “Thomas the Tank Engine” books.

Wilbert & Margaret moved to Gloucestershire in 1965 and spent many happy years in the Parish of Rodborough.

Wilbert died on March 21st 1997, aged 85 and the Church now celebrates his life’s achievements.

The Awdry Window

The Awdry Window

The Awdry Memorial Window

The Awdry Window was designed by Mr Alfred Fisher, who worked with Wilbert on the design in 1996. Unfortunately, Wilbert did not live to see the beautiful legacy that was given in memory of over 60 years of ministry.

Wilbert’s chosen themes were: The spiritual significance of everyday object; Childen; The four elements; Caring for others; “Thomas & Friends”.

The inscription “God be in my eyes” etc. unites the two halves of the window. The strong Christian values and morals that Wilbert always told of can be seen in the willing, helping hand given to the child at the foot of the tree. The four elements can be seen and the vibrant colours help to tell of the message within the window.

Those of us, young and old, let their eyes linger on “Thomas” – and particularly memorable is the image of Wilbert shutting the door for the last time. He always had wonderful sermons and tales to tell that captured the hearts and minds of those who saw him.

He helped people to see God in the ordinary things of life, and he made children laugh.