The evening sun slanting through the arcades, guests enjoyed a splendid drinks party in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey to mark the forthcoming retirement of Inigo Woolf from the London Diocesan Board for Schools. Guests included Inigo’s family, headteachers, LDBS staff and others with whom Inigo had worked in recent years.
Earlier, guests had attended a service of Evensong at which the Abbey Choristers sang gloriously and the Rt Revd Rob Wickham, Bishop of Edmonton, delivered a homily on the subject of hope: appropriate for the LDBS whose schools open their doors to some 59,000 young people every morning.
In the Abbey cloisters, after a warm welcome to the Abbey by the Revd Dr James Hawkey, Canon Theologian, the Rt Revd Dame Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, spoke of Inigo’s service to the Diocese over more than 50 years.
Dame Alice Hudson, Executive Headteacher at Twyford Church of England Academies Trust, delivered a speech on behalf of LDBS headteachers. She focussed on Inigo’s many qualities of personality and intellect, recalling how his problem-solving abilities had made him something of a “fixer” for schools.
Penny Roberts, the Diocesan Director of Education designate, provided a telling example of Inigo’s humble service: finding last year that the carpet in the LDBS’s offices needed cleaning, he brought in his own materials and set about the task himself.
Inigo himself described the practical help he had given to schools as one of “servant leadership”. He made clear, to the delight of guests, that he intended to continue to provide this in a number of voluntary roles.
Grateful thanks are due to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, and to the staff at the Abbey, for facilitating this happy and memorable event.