Denis Hawker (1921-2003)
The Right Reverend Denis Gascoyne Hawker was the eighth Bishop of Grantham, from 1972 to 1987.
Born at Lewisham, south London, he went to Addey and Stanhope Grammar School in 1939 before joining the staff of Lloyds Bank. A year later he volunteered for the Royal Marines, serving in Egypt, Crete, Ceylon and India.
This experience led him to offer for Holy Orders and, on coming down from Queens’ College, Cambridge, he completed his training at Cuddesdon Theological College.
He married Margaret Hamilton in 1944.
From 1950 to 1953 he was a curate at St Mary’s church, Folkestone, and he then moved to London to become Vicar of St Mark’s, South Norwood. There, for the next seven years, he exercised a vigorous ministry and began to urge the need for liturgical and pastoral reform in the Church of England.
Hawker was appointed St Hugh’s Missioner in the diocese of Lincoln in 1960. Acting as the Bishop’s envoy, he went about the parishes of this largely rural diocese encouraging the clergy and laity to look outwards from their fine medieval churches and witness to their faith in the wider community.
He also pressed for the Christian Stewardship approach to fundraising, and held training courses for parish treasurers and other leaders.
In 1964 he was appointed a Canon and Prebendary of Clifton, in Lincoln Cathedral; in the same year he was elected as a Proctor in the Convocation of Canterbury.
A year later he became Vicar of St Mary’s and St James’s church, Grimsby. Aided by a team of curates, he was also responsible for three district churches and played a prominent part in civic life.
Appointment as suffragan Bishop of Grantham came in 1972.
In retirement he was an Honorary Assistant Bishop in Norwich diocese and the vigorous chairman of a Hunstanton housing association for people with special needs.
He died at King’s Lynn.