Tributes have been expressed following the death from cancer of the Revd Malcolm Tonge, Associate Priest in the Lower Swale group of churches in the Ripon Episcopal Area who died on Sunday 10 September.
Malcolm was 64 years old and leaves a wife, Alyson and two daughters, Kate and Sarah.
Leading tributes to Malcolm, the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines said, “Malcolm's death, though not unexpected, is a tragedy. He ministered faithfully until the end, and will be remembered with love and gratitude. We thank God for him and pray for Alyson and his family in their grief."
The funeral for Malcolm will take place on St Radegund Church Scruton, near Catterick, on Monday 25th September 2017 at 2.00pm. It will be led by former Bishop of Ripon, the Rt. Revd James Bell. The address will be given by the Incumbent of Lower Swale, the Revd Clive Todd.
Bishop James said, “Malcolm's faith shone brightly, not least as he faced his illness with such courage. His devotion to his family and his enjoyment of friends was always evident.
“I give thanks for the privilege of knowing him and praying with him and for all his service to the church, not least as Treasurer of YMC/St. Hild's College in recent years. Our prayers are with Alyson and the family.”
Malcolm Tonge was born in Ferryhill, County Durham, in 1953, the son of a coal miner. He qualified as a chartered accountant in 1977 and in 1978 married Alyson. The couple had two daughters, Kate and Sarah and he shared his life with the family that he deeply loved and the church.
In 1983, Malcolm was licensed as a Church of England Lay Reader serving at St Margaret’s Church in Brookfield, Middlesborough. Subsequently, he was accepted for ordination training on the North East Ordination Course and was ordained deacon in 2003 and priest in 2004. He continued to serve at St Margaret’s Church until he moved to support the newly licenced priest at Ingleby Barwick, near Stockton on Tees, in 2006.
Malcolm and the family moved to Scruton, near Northallerton – now in the benefice of the Lower Swale – in 2008, though he continued to support Ingleby Barwick until he was licenced at St Radegund Church Scruton later that year. At the same time as being an accountant for the chemical industry until 2014 he continued his service to the church in the Lower Swale Benefice and to the wider church as the treasurer and a trustee of the then Yorkshire Ministry Course, working alongside Bishop James.
Friends have described Malcolm as “a determined man who always tried everything that his daughters did, even water skiing. He was a very proud father and loving grandfather who loved to celebrate all their achievements though it was always about the effort not the results.”
Colleagues described Malcolm as ‘a people person’ who ”loved to tell stories and who never missed an opportunity to speak about and live his faith.“
“Malcolm was a kind and generous man who gave of his time and resources to anyone in need; a good and loyal friend; an amazing, faithful hero; a starter finisher in the best of all ways.”
His funeral will be at St Radegund Church Scruton on Monday 25th September 2017 at 2.00pm.