Fr. Anthony E. Sketch


Fr. Tony on the 40th annivesary of his ordination in 2002, on the sanctuary of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Lowestoft

On 10th October we said goodbye to Fr. Tony Sketch who had been our parish priest for nearly twenty years and who had, in his own words and after a long illness, ‘gone home to God’. The formal occasion of his Requiem Mass was marked with a packed church of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Lowestoft, with over 30 of his fellow priests from all over East Anglia concelebrating and led, in the absence of a bishop since the death of our Bishop Michael last year, by our diocesan administrator Fr. David Bagstaff. This was followed by a private burial attended by his family at Kirkley Cemetary and a wake for everyone in the Stella Maris Hall, when memories of and anecdotes about him were swapped.

Fr. Tony came to Lowestoft in 1982 and soon became a popular figure having an impact on the town with his support for the ecumenical Christians Together movement and with his work in the chaplaincy at Blundeston Prison. His greatest impact however was amongst his parishioners with his humanity and his impish sense of humour. With many he soon came to be regarded as an extra member of the family, someone who would be invited to family celebrations as a matter of course and who would come and be a welcome guest. At times a deeply spiritual man he also had an appreciation of many of the fine arts, a love of music and of the culinary arts both as a consumer and as an experimental cook.

During his time inĀ  Lowestoft his was the moving force for the renovation of the Presbytery, the remodelling and re-decorating of the Sanctuary at Our Lady’s as well as the repair and restoration of its tower, and for the purchase of a new home for St. Nicholas Church to replace the ‘temporary’ one serving the parish in South Lowestoft.

We would lose him from the parish from time to time as he was also an international director of the shrine at Lourdes and his administrative duties took him away from us for short periods but his familiarity with Lourdes also meant that he led several parish pilgrimages there as well as to the Holy Land.

A serious road accident when he had been a young man took its toll on him in later years and from time to time he was dogged by ill-health. Ordained in 1962 he served as Parish Priest at Lowestoft from 1982 until 1998 when he continued as assistant for a while. After retiring to a flat overlooking the sea he was eventually unable to care for himself any longer and was admitted to a care home where he died peacefully on 26th September at the age of 75 years.

Fr Tony worked publicly for the material improvement of the fabric of the parish but, unseen by most, he also brought back to the Church many who had lapsedĀ as well new members, through his quiet spiritual ministry. He was not a conventional Catholic priest but he was no fool either; he was his own man and not always entirely at peace with some of the church hierarchy. He was, however, a ‘larger than life’ character and it is sad to think that he is no longer with us in body but his sense of humour will be with us still and I am sure that we will continue to hear him chuckling over our shoulders at some of the absurdities of life.


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