London: Tributes and eulogies at thank giving service of BSS Gindiri’s pioneer principal

BSS, GHS and COCIN missionaries gathered at Purley Baptist Church (South East London)  on Friday 20th May 2016 to celebrate the life of the pioneer principal of BSS Gindiri, late Mr. Owen David Wilmshurst, who died at the age of 101 on the 28th of April 2016 in London.

Mr Wilmshurst who became the first principal of the prestigious school in 1950 laid the foundation for academic excellence, thought leadership, service, discipline and christian values.

A seasoned chemist and mathematician, Mr. Wilmshurst graduated the first set of students from the school in 1955 (a total of 16 students which included late J D Gomwalk, Prof. Ochapa Onazi, James Lot, Ayo Abifarin). He was then appointed warden of the entire COCIN Gindiri school compound (comprising BSS, GHS, teachers college and the school for the blind etc) in 1956.

Late Mr. Wilmshurst went on to take on several other roles within the COCIN mission before returning to England in 1963.

He is survived by his wife Connie Wilmshurst (99 years of age), five children – Jessica, Elizabeth, Andrew, Tim and Steve Wilmshurst, 12 grand children and several great grand children.

The thanks giving service was a true celebration of the life, legacy and purpose of a man who became a pioneer, a mentor, pace-setter, father, grandfather and husband – as such, several individuals paid glowing tributes and eulogies to a life well spent.

These included his children (Jessica, Elizabeth, Andrew, Tim and Steve), Mr. Geoffrey Dearsley (second principal of BSS Gindiri from 1956), Mr. Maurice Cottom (third principal of BSS Gindiri), Mr. John Dean (former teacher at BSS Gindiri), Rev Alan Chilver and members of the Purley baptist church where Mr Wilmshurst worshiped.

Travelling from Nigeria to attend the event, were Prof. Suleman Bogoro (GOSA ’76 and the executive secretary of Tetfund). Prof. Bogoro represented the GOSA family, bringing glowing tributes on behalf of the president Prof. Rotgak Gofwen. Also travelling to represent the first set of BSS (i.e., GOSA ’55), was Dr. Ayo Abifarin a renown plant geneticist, who is only one of three surviving members from the set. He spoke heartily about the character, integrity and values of late Mr. Wilmshurst, extolling his foresight and discipline.

On behalf of the COCIN family, Reverend Kefas Tang’an of COCIN London, eulogized the late principal as a true pioneer, a pace-setter and an obedient servant of the Great Commission. He brought hearty condolences from the COCIN general secretary and the COCIN family – saying the late Mr. Wilmshurst and other COCIN missionaries’ legacy and impact will transcend generations.

BSS, GHS, GOSA and COCIN Missionaries group photo at Owen David Wilmshurst first principal of BSS gindiri thanks giving serviceAbove:

Sitting from left to right are – Mr. Eric Peters, Mr. Geoffrey Dearsley (second principal of BSS Gindiri i.e., from 1956), Mrs. Dearsley, Mr. Maurice Cottom (third principal of BSS Gindiri), Jean Dean and John Dean.

Standing in middle row from left to right are: Jenny Sweatman, Jean Chilver, Barbara Colin Smith, Mrs Helen Munday

Standing in back row from left to right are: Mr. Wapshak Nastu, Colin Smith, Dr. Ayo David Abifarin, Rev. Alan Chilver, Andrew Wilmshurst and his wife and Prof. Suleman Bogoro (Gosa 76), Rev. Kefas Tang’an (GOSA 82).49Above:

Sitting from left to right are – Mr. Eric Peters, Mr. Geoffrey Dearsley (second principal of BSS Gindiri i.e., from 1956), Mrs. Dearsley, Mr. Maurice Cottom (third principal of BSS Gindiri), Jean Dean and John Dean.

Standing in middle row from left to right are: Mrs. Dusu, Vivian Dams, Jenny Sweatman, Jean Chilver, Barbara Colin Smith, Mrs Helen Munday other missionaries and Mr Leo Ibrahim

Standing in back row from left to right are: Dr. Chinan Mclean Dikwal, George Longjan, Mr. Wapshak Nastu, Colin Smith, Dr. Gwangtim Poyi, Moses Kallamu, Rev. Alan Chilver, Mrs. Andrew Wilmshurst and Prof. Suleman Bogoro (Gosa 76), Rev. Kefas Tang’an (GOSA 82).

BSS, GHS, GOSA and COCIN Missionaries group photo at Owen David Wilmshurst first principal of BSS gindiri thanks giving service

Above

Sitting from left to right are – Mr. Eric Peters, Mr. Geoffrey Dearsley (second principal of BSS Gindiri i.e., from 1956), Mrs. Dearsley, Mr. Maurice Cottom (third principal of BSS Gindiri), Jean Dean and John Dean.

Standing in middle row from left to right are: missionary, Jenny Sweatman, Jean Chilver, Barbara Colin Smith, Mrs Helen Munday

Standing in back row from left to right are: Mr. Wapshak Nastu, Colin Smith, Dr. Ayo David Abifarin, Rev. Alan Chilver, Andrew Wilmshurst and his wife and Prof. Suleman Bogoro (Gosa 76), Rev. Kefas Tang’an (GOSA 82).

6Above: Pastor of Purley Baptist Church – Rev. James Collins5Above: Andrew Wilmshurst (Eldest son of Owen David Wilmshurst)15Above: Rev. Kefas Tang’an Eulogizing the late Owen David Wilmshurst Prof Suleman Bogoro executive secretary of Tetfund Nigeria at Owen David Wilmshurst thanks giving serviceAbove: Prof. Suleman Bogoro (Gosa ’76 Executive Secretary of Tetfund)Dr Ayo Abifarin_At Owen David Wilmshurst thanks giving serviceAbove: Dr. Ayo David Abifarin (One of the 3 surviving members of the first GOSA set of 1955)GOSA and COCIN Missionaries_Owen David Wilmshurst Thanks Giving Service10Above: Cross-section of grand children, friends and church members, with Steve and Andrew Wilmshurst inset.GOSA and COCIN Missionaries_Owen David Wilmshurst Thanks Giving Service_kallamu Moses_George Longjan and Vivian DamsAbove: Mr. Moses Kallamu, Mr. George Longjan and Vivian Dams24Above: The pianist at the service. He played one of Owen David Wilmshurt’s favourites songs which he learnt as a  boy and subsequently taught to his students at BSS “When we walk with the lord, in the light of his word”Owen David Wilmshurst thanks giving serviceAbove: Cross section of family, friends and well wishers. With Steve Wilmshurst, Rev. Kefas Tang’an and Prof. Suleman Bogoro insetOwen David Wilmshurst first principal of BSS Gindiri nigeria thanks giving serviceAbove: A cross section of family, friends and well-wishers with Andrew & Tim Wilshurst and Leo Ibrahim insetOwen David Wilmshurst thanks giving serviceAbove: Cross-section of the Wilmshurst grand children (12 in total)13Above: Cross-section of colleagues, fellow missionaries and friends. With Geoffrey Dearsley (second principal of BSS Gindiri i.e., from 1956 inset).Owen David Wilmshurst thanks giving serviceAbove: Cross-section of colleagues, fellow missionaries and friends. 27Above: Cross-section of family, fellow missionaries and students. With Tim Wilmshurst, Mr. Leo Ibrahim and Rev. Kefas Tang’an and Dr. Ayo David Abifarin inset.9Above: Cross-section of the church congregation
57Above: Geoffrey Dearsley (the second principal of BSS Gindiri i.e., from 1956) and Rev. Alan Chilver in discussion. With Collin Smith insetGOSA and COCIN Missionaries_Owen David Wilmshurst Thanks Giving Service9Above: Front row – from Left to right are Steve Wilmshurst, Andrew Wilmshurst, Dr. Ayo D Abifarin, Jessica and Elizabeth and Tim Wilshurst. In the back row standing are Mr. Wapshak Nastu, Vivian Dams, Prof. Bogoro, Dr. Gwangtim Poyi,  Rev. Kefas Tang’an and other church members and well wishers. Mr. Colin Smith and Alan Chilver can also be seen in the background
1GOSA and COCIN Missionaries_Owen David Wilmshurst Thanks Giving Service8Above: Geoffrey Dearsley (the second principal after David Wilmshurst i.e., from 1956), his wife, and Maurice Cottom (third principal of BSS Gindiri).
4Above: Mr Moses Kallamu and Mr. George LongjanGeoffrey Dearsley and his wife, Maurice Cotton BSS, GHS, GOSA and COCIN Missionaries group photo at Owen David Wilmshurst first principal of BSS gindiri thanks giving serviceAbove: Geoffrey Dearsley (the second principal after David Wilmshurst i.e., from 1956), his wife, and Maurice Cottom (third principal of BSS Gindiri).19

Rev Alan Chilver_At Owen David Wilmshurst thanks giving service

 Rev Alan Chilver_At Owen David Wilmshurst thanks giving service

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Maurice Cotton and Geoffrey Dearsley at Thanks giving service of Owen David Wilmshurt first principal of BSS Gindiri Nigeria

31Above: Wapshak Nastu, Barbara and Colin Smith

32Above: Steve Wilmshurst and John Dean confer33Above: Prof. Suleman Bogoro, Dr. Gwangtim Poyi and Dr. Ayo David AbifarinJohn Dean and Dr Tim Owen Wilmshurst_Owen David Wilmshurst first principal of BSS Gindiri nigeria thanks giving serviceAbove: John Dean and Tim WilmshurstJohn Dean, Dr Ayo Abifarin, Geoffrey Dearsley, Prof. Suleman Bogoro and Maurice Cotton, Owen David Wilmshurst first principal of BSS Gindiri nigeria thanks giving service

Owen David Wilmshurst first principal of BSS Gindiri nigeria thanks giving service

Above: John Dean, Maurice Cottom and Dr. Chinan Mclean Dikwal

Gwangtim Poyi, John Dean, Maurice Cotton at Owen David Wilmshurst first principal of BSS Gindiri nigeria thanks giving serviceAbove: Mr. John Dean, Mr. Maurice Cottom and Dr. Gwangtim Poyi38Above: Dr. Chinan Mclean Dikwal & Mrs Chilver39Above: Mr. George Longjan, Dr. Ayo D Abifarin, Mr. Moses T Kallamu and Mr. Wapshak Nastu40Above: Dr. Chinan Mclean Dikwal, Dr. Gwangtim Poyi, Mr. Wapshak Nastu, Mr. George Longjan and Mr. Leo Ibrahim
46Above: Geoffrey Dearsley (the second principal of BSS Gindiri) and his wife47Above: Mr Maurice Cottom (the third principal of BSS Gindiri and another missionary from GHS Gindiri)50Above: Mr Maurice Cottom (the third principal of BSS Gindiri51Above: Mr Wapshak Nastu, George Longjan, Prof. Suleman Bogoro, Colin Smith and Gwangtim Poyi52Above: Prof. Suleman Bogoro, Mr. Colin Smith, Dr. Gwangtim Poyi and Dr. Chinan Mclean Dikwal
5658Above: First and second daughters of late Owen David Wilmshurst (Jessica and Elizabeth) with Dr. Gwangtim Poyi59Above: Dr. Ayo David Abifarin, Mr. Moses Kallamu, Prof. Suleman Bogoro, Mr. Wapshak Nastu, Dr. Gwangtim Poyi and Mr. George Longjan
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London: Tributes and eulogies at thank giving service of BSS Gindiri’s pioneer principal

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