Special woman admired by all dies

LOVED: Mrs Pat Spurin
LOVED: Mrs Pat Spurin

A LOVING and kind woman who became a Mother Teresa figure to families in Kenya and made friends around the world has died at the age of 80.

Mrs Pat Spurin died at home on Sunday morning, with her husband of 50 years, Canon Richard Spurin, and her children at her side. She had been planning to preach at St Peter’s Church that morning, and had never let the cancer she had had for three years prevent her from having a full and active life.

She and her husband met in 1951 were members of the same church as youngsters. “We fell in love a long time ago, and I married the best of the bunch,” he said. In the mid 50s their careers took them in different directions. A gifted linguist, Mrs Spurin went to Kenya in 1959 as a young teacher with the Church Missionary Society in the country’s first secondary school for girls. Theologian Mr Spurin began his work in the church, and in 1961 arrived in Kenya after being appointed chaplain to an African bishop, the Rt Rev. Festo Olang’, who married them a year later.

Their missionary life together took them to some of the most remote parts of the country, where, in addition to teaching, Mrs Spurin ran clinics to help sick families.

Both her children, John Mark, who works for the Home Office, and Helen, a teaching assistant at Wheatley Lane Methodist Primary School, were born in Kenya before the family returned to the UK in 1973.

They lived in Surrey before moving to parishes in the North of England, and eventually made Burnley their home.

Mrs Spurin had been a lay preacher in Kenya and continued the work on their return, and after settling in Padiham, she studied a theology course for “official approval”.

She and her husband also set up a charity, the Friends of Sikinga, helping families in Kenya, and were devoted to the development of Building Bridges, encouraging friendship between religions.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be made.