GENTLE, Charles Edward 1886 - 1961

Born at Newport, Isle of Wight, in 1886. He served a term of apprenticeship to a local printer before being accepted as a candidate for the Ministry, after which he went to Handsworth College and thence, in 1913, to Wimborne for his first circuit.

In 1914, when stationed at Daventry, he enlisted in the Princess Beatrice Isle of Wight Rifles.

A year later, on active service in India, he was called from the ranks to serve as Chaplain to the  Forces, in which service he continued until demobilization in 1920.

His early peace-time circuits were Reading, Buckingham and Brackley, Congleton, and Stafford.

He was in the Midlands during the period of widespread distress associated with the General Strike and the opening years of the great depression. His sympathy with the victims of the conditions of those days was expressed in the opening of Methodist premises to provide social amenities, and in the practical relief work with which he became so actively engaged.

Then he moved to Ely, and after this to Louth, Shaftesbury and Gillingham, East Wight, and Silchester. In 1954 he returned to the Isle of Wight to serve as an active supernumerary at Bembridge.

On his full retirement in 1958 he settled at Newport, maintaining wide contacts and giving his services most generously to the Methodist pulpits of the island. It was a joy to him in these later days to renew fellowship with comrades of earlier year.

He became Padre of the island’s Old Contemptibles Association, attending their meetings, visiting their members and conducting the annual parade service.

It was often said of him that he was not only Gentle by name but also gentle by nature, but beneath this gentleness there was a tenacity of purpose and firmness of conviction which enabled him to make his ministry a singularly effective one.

He died on 4 September 1961, in the seventy-fifth year of his age and the forty-eighth of his ministry.

©Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes 1962

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