Revd Alan John Talbot.
27-01-1923 – 30-08-2018
The Revd Alan John Talbot died peacefully at home at the age of 95yrs.
He was born in Leyton, East London and at the age of 5yrs moved with the family to Northolt, Middx. Here he became a keen member of the local church, St Mary’s Northolt. He was greatly influenced by the rector, Revd Gordon Phillips and thus began a life of service to his fellow man.
After serving in world war two as a navigator in bomber command, he read Philosophy, Politics and economics at Oxford University and then went to the College of The Resurrection in Mirfield.
He was ordained Priest in 1952. He served as a curate at St Mary of Eton, Hackney Wick and then St Saviours in Portsmouth.
In 1963 he went to Southern Tanzania to work with Bishop Trevor Huddleston. It was here that the Palm Cross project was born.
Revd Talbot worked as a priest in a very remote area of the Masasi Diocese.
In 1967 he was visited by two English Botanists who identified and confirmed that the bushes of reeds that grew wild around the village were Palm. He had recently read that the making of Palm Crosses in Devon had come to an end. This gave him the idea that the villagers could make some extra money for essentials such as salt by plaiting palm leaves. This wouldn’t interfere with their work as farmers and gave them dignity in earning their own money. He sent these back to friends in the UK with the aim that they should try and sell them, they proved popular, so he sent more back.
He returned to the UK in 1969 and continued the project which grew. He was delighted when all denominations started to use the crosses uniting so many Christians on Palm Sunday.
Palm Crosses are now sold all around the world from the UK to Hong Kong.
At his funeral Father Henry from African Palms USA told of how Palm Crosses had affected millions of people in Tanzania over the years, both through the work of making the crosses and through money leftover being used in Education and Healthcare projects. It is amazing. How such a small idea could affect and encourage people in their daily lives around the world.
On the day of his funeral, he was remembered in all the parishes of the Diocese of Masasi, Tanzania in a special service.
He will be remembered by many throughout the world with love and joy.