A visit to Wesley’s Chapel: building on a legacy

Posted by pt91 at Oct 01, 2012 05:13 PM |
Alumni remember the work of graduate church minister Donald English
A visit to Wesley’s Chapel: building on a legacy

Sylvia Ladyman (BSc General Science 1951).

Fifty-six graduates living close to the city of London came to an informal reception and guided tour of Wesley’s Chapel on 19 September. The visit to one of London’s hidden ‘gems’, in an area of historical importance, attracted history lovers and the contemporaries of University of Leicester graduate Donald English.

Donald graduated in History in 1952. He was exceptionally talented with a choice of careers open to him, in education or as a professional footballer, but he decided that his life’s work was in the church. In 1962 he was ordained as a Methodist minister, but his name became well known outside Methodism as a scholar, preacher, author, evangelist, church statesman and later Radio 4 broadcaster. 

Panorama - Chapel

Wesley’s Chapel was built in 1778 as the London base of John Wesley, a founder of the Methodist movement, and is today both a place of worship and a visitor attraction. Among its striking features is a memorial window commissioned to honour the life and ministry of the Rev Dr Donald English and his wife Bertha, also a graduate of the University of Leicester.

In addition to the Chapel, graduates were taken on a tour of John Wesley’s Georgian townhouse where they gained an insight into his travels and interests from the many personal belongings preserved in his home. They also learned about the role that Methodism played in British social and political history.

After lunch, a talk about the University’s recent successes brought everyone up to date and reminded them that the University of Leicester was founded on a legacy and the importance of gifts and legacies to our continuing success. Alumna Sylvia Ladyman (BSc General Science 1951) spoke about the gift she had made to the University in her Will and her motivations for supporting the University, and she encouraged others to follow her example. 

Graduates and friends who knew Donald during their university days shared their personal recollections about the ‘legacy’ that he had passed on to others through his life and work.

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