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Rishton-born Rennie Simpson rose through the ranks of the Anglican Church to reach one of the highest positions in the clergy, working at Westminster Abbey and eventually becoming one of a select band of Queen's Chaplains.

Educated at Blackburn Technical College, he trained for the ministry at Kelham Theological College, Nottinghamshire, and later became succentor of Blackburn Cathedral from 1949 to 1952, a position which allowed him to practice his love of music. He was then appointed to the college of minor canons at St Paul's Cathedral, where he was able to sing services in the Royal Chapel.

Later he moved to the precentorship of Westminster Abbey, another position which allowed him to get involved with the production of the Abbey's music. In 1973 he played a large part in the arrangements for the wedding of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips and was appointed a Chaplain to the Queen in 1982, four years after his appointment as Archdeacon of Macclesfield.

Retired former Archdeacon of Blackburn David Robinson, said of him: "He was a very cheerful, smiling person who was a very good pastor. He cared for people very deeply and was always extremely helpful. Much loved."

The esteem with which he was held by the Church was shown by the fact that his death merited a lengthy obituary in The Times.

But, despite his dealings with royalty, he also kept his feet on the ground and was a keen Chelsea fan and regular at the club's Stamford Bridge ground.

Rennie Died at the age of 76 in January 1997. At the time he was survived by his wife, Margaret, and by a son and a daughter.

References

First Published in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph on Friday 31 January 1997.