Milverton, Somerset

The Revd Canon Ian Ainsworth-Smith, MBE

Ian was born in London in 1941 and was educated at Haberdashers’ Aske’s School and Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he read Theology. He trained for ordination at Westcott House, Cambridge, and for hospital chaplaincy at Massachusetts General Hospital in the U.S.A. He served his first curacy in the Diocese of London and the second in the Diocese of Southwark. He was appointed Senior Chaplain of St George’s Hospital, London, in 1973 and held that appointment for thirty three years until he retired. He worked with both staff and patients, and oversaw a large number of students on placement, as well as lecturing in clinical ethics in the medical school and chairing several research ethics committees. His book, Letting Go – Caring for the Dying and Bereaved, (first published in 1982) still appears on recommended reading lists. He was appointed an Honorary Canon of Southwark Cathedral in 1995 and was awarded an M.B.E. in 2006 by Her Majesty the Queen for services to the National Health Service.

He and Jean met in Cambridge in 1962 and they married in 1965. They have identical twin sons and four Grandchildren. He and Jean moved permanently to Milverton in 2006 having had their house there since 1986 – they had lived in ‘tied’ housing when in London. Ian was busy in retirement. He was Chair of the Milverton Parish Council; Chair of the Milverton and Fitzhead Society; Vice-Chair of the Cambridge Society of Somerset; and a member of the Bath and Wells Clerical Society.

He, accompanied by Jean, lectured and acted as chaplain on cruise ships and they went to every continent, including Antarctica, while working on these ships. Often they were asked to give talks to local groups about their travels.

Ian also described himself as a ‘jobbing vicar’, helping out with services, including weddings, baptisms and funerals, in local churches. Ian particularly enjoyed walking and reading and really loved his life in Milverton. He died very suddenly on 9 March 2021, a month before his eightieth birthday.

Jean and the family are so grateful to everyone who very kindly sent condolence cards, letters, messages, flowers and food after their beloved Ian’s sudden death. They were also very touched by the number of people who attended Ian’s funeral on 1 April 2021 – socially distanced in the church and churchyard – and who lined the streets as Ian was driven through Milverton for the last time.

Thank you for all your love, support and sympathy.

The funeral service for Ian was live streamed, and is available to view online..