Canon Padraig Gallagher –   My safe pair of hands.

I told him for decades that he was my favourite Vicar, he was, and will always be.

But he wasn’t just my favourite Vicar – he was so very much more than that, to me.

He was my mentor – sharing his wisdom and stories with me, always knowing somehow what to say. He held my hand metaphorically, whilst I tried to help and lead others. Guiding not judging my decisions and holding my heart when I got it wrong, plenty of times. There was always a calmness when he was telling me the most heart wrenching stories to enable me to learn, from his experience and time in Chicago and his years as a Pastoral Counsellor.  He didn’t pull any punches and was honest in his words.

He was my colleague, as our Social Responsibility Officer and fellow School Governor – we sat around many committee tables, board rooms, interview panels, disciplinaries and court rooms over the years. His passion to make a difference was contagious. Even with his head in his hands he knew how and when to make courageous decisions and he never shook away from his responsibilities, regardless of how difficult it was, it was always about what should we do that is right. Right now.

He was my warrior – wanting to feed his community, through food banks, Sunday brunches and breakfast clubs, a very long time before it was the in thing to do. Because he cared not for any other reason than human compassion. He wanted to make our church real, gospel in action, treating your neighbour as yourself – he did exactly that and St Teilos is more than his legacy – it’s him.

He was my friend – he had my back, my front, my side.  He spoke truth in a way that you could do anything but not listen even when it was uncomfortable – he was brave in the things that he said to me but I always knew it was from love  that he spoke and nothing else. As difficult as some of the conversations were.

He was my buddy – enjoying a glass of red, white, or rose – good cooking, looking at the garden & chatting nonsense – dogs, bluebells, tulips, Bishops.

He was and always will be my favourite Vicar – I am privileged that he valued my friendship in the way I did his. I feel blessed and honoured to be part of his final hours and really holding his hand. I am so grateful that in the last part of his life he gave me the gift of friendship in Ruth – a gift I will hold on to and treasure – peace my fabulous friend you will be missed massively and never forgotten.

Thank you for everything you contributed to Teilos Community Cwtch and to Faith in Families.

We will celebrate Padraig’s life on 2nd August at 10.20 at St Gabriel’s Church, Bryn Road, Swansea SA2 0AP followed by a private committal.  There will be light refreshments at St Teilo’s Church, 62 Cheriton Crescent, Portmead, Swansea SA5 5LA

If you would like to donate to a fundraising page set up in Padraig’s memory, please click here

At Faith in Families, we see the potential in every child. We know that with the right environment and support, every child can thrive and experience the childhood they truly deserve!

Giving these children the chance to play, be outdoors, and meet friends is incredibly important and something that they rarely get the chance to do. But with your support we can do so much more to make our city a better place for everyone to live, work, play and grow in Swansea.