Westminster Cathedral’s administrator, Canon Christopher Tuckwell, has died after a long illness.


Canon Christopher was a popular and well-known figure at Westminster Cathedral, where he served as administrator for 12 years. He welcomed the UK Friends of the Anglican Centre in Rome each year when they attended joint vespers with the choirs of the Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, and enabled the Friends to an enjoy receptions and talks within the precincts of the Cathedral following vespers.


Born in 1945, Canon Christiopher was a commissioned army officer from 1966 until 1970, and then studied for the Anglican priesthood at Chichester Theological College from 1970 to 1973. He left the Church of England in 1994 and was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1995. After serving in several parishes in the Diocese of Westminster, he joined Westminster Cathedral’s staff as sub-administrator in 2006. He was promoted in 2008 when the then administrator, Mgr Mark Langham, moved to Rome to work for the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.


A highlight of Canon Christopher’s time at the cathedral was the state visit to the UK of Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 who celebrated Mass at the cathedral during his days in Britain.


Canon Christopher maintained strong links with army colleagues as Honorary Regimental Chaplain to the Prince of Wales’ Royal Regiment, the successor of the regiment with which he served while in the Army, and with Church of England friends and colleagues as well. He cultivated strong ecumenical relations with the Dean and clergy of Westminster Abbey. He became an ecumenical member of the College of Westminster Abbey in 2010.


Canon Christopher died on June 26. His funeral took place at Westminster Cathedral on Tuesday (July 7). During the Requiem Mass, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the celebrant, said: “I was blessed to be with Christopher the day before he died. Our conversation was simple: hello; goodbye; prayers and love. He said to me, in his direct and uncomplicated way: 'I am really looking forward to meeting my Lord.' As I left he gave a final salute, the wave of a raised arm, calm and reassuring….The gift of such faith is priceless. We search for it; we reach out for it; we rejoice in it as the most precious gift of all”.