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Posted on 28th February, 2022

Hugh Grainger



1st May1931 - 24th January 2022







Hugh was born in Wimbledon.  He was the eldest child & had three younger brothers, Stuart, Christopher and Peter. 

His brothers were all talented artists musicians or dramatists and Hugh did his best to support them although he did not share their talents.  He always tried to support their exhibitions and dramatic performances.

The family moved to Plymouth when his father’s work took him there and at ten he was sent to Kings School Canterbury which had been evacuated to Cornwall.

Their parents divorced in the 1950s and Hugh, still a teenager, kept the brothers together as a unit. Doing many things together including, forming a family band, with Hugh on drums.

After school he did 2 years National Service in the army and then tried his hand at farming, keeping up his drumming with Billingshurst Town Band.


Increasingly he became sure he was called to the ministry.  After his exclusive type of education, he felt he needed to mingle more with those less fortunate so enlisted in the army for a further 3 years.


In 1957 he went to Kings College London to study theology for 3 years.

Valeria went up in the same year to study at Bedford College, University of London.  Her Hall of Residence for 36 female students in a beautiful Queen Anne house in Regent’s Park held an annual dance in October to which they invited male students from male Halls of Residence.  Hugh went to the dance in 1958 and Valeria opened the door to him.  They married 2 years later on New Year’s Eve 1960.

 In his final year at King’s Hugh began to feel that perhaps a dog collar might be a barrier so thought of social work instead.  After getting a Social Work qualification he worked as a Child Care Officer at Hammersmith, then Reading, Abingdon and then Slough, where he was Area Director of Social Services in the new unified Social Care structure, finally moving to Kent where he was Director of Social Services for the Tonbridge and Sevenoaks Area. Which is when they moved to The Barn.

The church was not forgotten and for over 50 years he was a Lay Reader taking services and assisting in the ministry of his local area. Latterly, at All Saints West Farleigh, supporting the incumbent and supporting the church through

several inter regnum, when we had no vicar. With Valeria as church warden, they were a formidable pair!

He and Valeria had 3 children, Karen, Sarah and Richard who in turn gave them 10 grandchildren and to date 7.5 great grandchildren.


Hugh’s great love was dancing and this was something he and Valeria enjoyed until Hugh lacked the strength to continue.  He also enjoyed DIY, for which his children were grateful, when they had their own homes. He even took a plumbing course so that he and Val could improve conditions in an orphanage in Romania. He loved his gardens. Travelling was important, for many years they had a caravan and on retirement progressed to a Motor Home which they used to travel throughout the UK and Europe, Turkey being the most distant country they toured in the van. With Val he visited countries further afield, sometimes cruising. Cruising being an ideal way of combining his love or travel and dancing!

Our thoughts and condolences go to Val and her family.


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For a while, when I was the Benefice Treasurer, I use to meet Hugh on a regular basis and was always impressed by his drive and vision for the Church in West Farleigh.
I believe he was the driving force in the "reordering" of the West Farleigh Church in the 2000's to ensure that it continued to be a special "space" that contributes to the life of the West Farleigh Community in to the 21 Century.