Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Farewell to Fr Victor Cook RIP
"Fr Victor Cook was born in Walton-upon-Thames on 23rd September 1931. He was the eldest of two boys and went to the Salesian school in Chertsey, where he was very happy despite wartime depredations. The start of the National Health Service in 1948 saw Victor working in an administration office of what was to become St Thomas's Hospital in London. Though based in Covent Garden, he regularly attended daily mass at Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane. Thoughts of the priesthood grew stronger and he decided to offer himself for the diocese of Southwark. As a late vocation, Victor was sent to the house of further studies at Walworth, where the rector, Fr Edward Holloway, became a life-long friend. In fact, Victor was eventually to give shelter to Fr Holloway in the last 13 years of the latter's life. A pattern of care and concern for brother priests was always a feature of Fr Victor's goodness.
Major seminary at Wonersh from 1954-1960 was a good time for Victor. Always prone to nervousness and anxiety, he was cured of a stammer whilst there as he grew in self confidence and matured in his journey to priesthood. He could always remember who sat where in the chapel, even in his final years when other memories were fading fast. Victor was ordained priest on June 11th 1960, and took up his first appointment with Fr Costello at St John the Baptist's in Brighton. Life was not easy, but Victor's humour never failed him. The parish priest's sister was a hard housekeeper, and Victor used to remark that she had been awarded the DFC - this meant 'Dragon First Class'.
After eight years in Brighton - and now a priest of the new diocese of Arundel and Brighton - Victor was moved to Horley, and was to serve further in his 51 years as a priest in Camberley, Cranleigh and Warlingham. He retired to Dorking for 3 years in 2006, before moving to the care of the Grace and Compassion sisters in Bognor Regis for the final years of his life. Special mention should be made to the sisters who attended him so selflessly and well in the last years of his life. Also, the fathers of Opus Dei at Wickenden Manor deserve a special acknowledgement, as Victor attended their monthly Days of Recollection regularly for over forty years. Victor struggled at times, but was unerringly faithful to his vocation. May he rest in peace and rise in glory."