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Thanks and Farewell to Shirley Davies

Shirley Davies, Assistant Diocesan Secretary for the Diocese of York, retired at Easter 2024 after 28 years' service.

Shirley Davies, Assistant Diocesan Secretary for the Diocese of York, retired at Easter 2024 after 28 years’ service.

Shirley moved to the post in York after serving in the administration for the Church of England’s General Synod in London, and caused consternation amongst her colleagues there by her decision to move north.

Serving the Diocese of York under three Diocesan Secretaries and four Archbishops (John Habgood was leaving just as she arrived), Shirley has been the indispensible expert and diligent practitioner of every detail of synodical government from PCCs to Diocesan Synod and Archbishop’s Council, with in-depth knowledge of the complex legalities of pastoral reorganisation, church closure and clergy appointment processes, patronage and much more.

Following words of thanks from Archbishop Stephen at Diocesan Synod on the 16th March (accompanied by both flowers and applause), colleagues at the Diocesan Office bade farewell to Shirley just before Easter, paying tribute to the warmth of her care and friendship, her quiet but gleeful sense of humour, and the therapeutic quality of her unforgettable laughter that would occasionally ring through the office.

Memories were shared of the retiring (in all senses) Archbishop Habgood very publicly asking Shirley for advice on the operation of jacuzzis; of Shirley’s perplexity at the old Diocesan Office in central York when she looked out of her first-floor window to find a squirrel eating a fig roll on the scaffolding in front of her; and of an intense discussion in Shirley’s upstairs office in the Aviator Court building being interrupted by screams (from all parties) when a high-reach window cleaning pad suddenly hit the glass with an unexpected splat.

Shirley’s devotion to her garden is well-known, and while she will be much-missed throughout the Diocese of York (especially at its synods and councils, and by those navigating the administrative complexities she has known so well), we hope and pray that this summer’s weather will allow her to spend a lot of time there.