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Many of you will remember with fondness Malcolm Bradshaw who was the Vicar of Boxley with Detling from 1982 until 2000 . During his time in the benefice, Malcolm (pictured here last year) was responsible for planning the ecumenical project in Grove Green which resulted in St John's Church being established, and was also the first Chair of Governors to be appointed at the newly built St John's Church of England Primary School, the planning of which Malcolm was actively involved with. In addition, he also married Olga at Boxley Church, having a combined Anglican and Greek Orthodox ceremony, and when their daughter, Polina, was born her baptism at Detling was also a traditional Greek baptism. It was through Olga's links with the Greek community – she taught traditional Greek dancing to children from the local community – that the use of Boxley Church for Orthodox services was established. Malcolm's time with us will be remembered by many as not only being a time which saw many changes in the parishes, as outlined above, but a time of great happiness and unity.
At the end of his time in the benefice, Malcolm and the family moved to Athens where Malcolm was appointed Priest-in-Charge of the Anglican Community in mainland Greece and the islands, and has subsequently been made a Canon and is also an Area Dean. Over the years several members of the congregation have kept in touch with the Bradshaw family, and the annual Christmas missives have given us a good insight into the work being done by them within the community there. Latterly, more information has been forthcoming about the huge amount of support the Anglican and Greek churches in Athens have given to help those affected by the economic crisis in Greece, and more recently the refugees who have been fleeing to Greece for safety.
It was with delight that the news of Malcolm's award of the MBE in this year's New Year's Honours reached the Churches in Boxley and Detling, and the following is the extract written by a colleague from the website europe.anglican.org.
'Warm congratulations go to Fr Malcolm Bradshaw, the Senior Chaplain in Athens, who has been honoured with an MBE in the New Year's Honours List. It is a most fitting award recognising Fr Malcolm's outstanding achievements and extraordinary service particularly during this time of financial hardship facing the Greek people and the huge numbers of refugees arriving in Greece and transiting through the country. Fr Malcolm has been instrumental in bringing together Churches and other groups to work together to address these challenges.’
When I spoke to him on the telephone to congratulate him, Fr Malcolm said, humbly, "but none of this could have been achieved without the collaboration and cooperation of others". That is true, of course, but it was Malcolm's drive, passion and vision that harnessed this collaboration. For that, this honour is most fitting.
The members of the diocese as well as ecumenical partners I am sure will join me in sending our congratulations to Malcolm and expressing our joy at this recognition by HM Government.
The official citation reads:
Rev Canon Malcolm McNeille BRADSHAW
Senior Chaplain, Anglican Church in Greece. For services to interfaith understanding and community charities in Greece'
Heart-felt congratulations go to Malcolm and his family from the congregation and parishioners of Boxley and Detling; he is a most worthy recipient.