Sarah Jeffrey from Devon & Cornwall Police writes:
With heavy hearts, we said goodbye to John Ewington today. John is our longest serving chaplain currently (closely followed by Philip Darby at Newton Abbot!). Whilst the normal goodbye ‘do’ wasn’t possible, John graciously agreed to attend a local station, where he received a thank you certificate signed by Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer, and presented by Superintendent Toby Davies. Several members of the chaplaincy team were able to attend virtually, along with several inspectors who had staff that John has supported over the years.
John began looking after Bideford station, and also supported Holsworthy, Torrington and S. Molton. About two years ago, another chaplain moved to Bideford and John graciously moved his support to the rural stations of Holsworthy, Torrington and S. Molton to allow that chaplain the opportunity to support Bideford. Thinking of others is one of John’s strong suits. In addition to providing excellent support and a real sense of humour to the officers and staff in his care, John also has some exceptional talents. One includes his skill and love of fly fishing and he is a member of the D&C police fly fishing association. In fact, whilst John supports his three stations, some of his best chaplaincy work has been done while standing knee deep in water, a fishing pole in his hand, talking to officers about the stresses and strains of the job. John is also an exceptional artist. It’s not unusual after a really lengthy chaplaincy meeting for some of us to find a small artistic drawing of ourselves which John has created whilst listening to whomever is speaking.
John has heard many stories over the years, and shared in the joys of things like officers getting married, having babies or being promoted. He has also shared in the tragedies and challenges such as officers and staff dealing with deaths, including child deaths, divorce, illness and of course most recently COVID.
John is never one to shy away from a quick comment or remark which always makes us laugh. He is also not afraid to question and find out why things are the way they are. His inquisitive mind and nature have helped us sometimes look at our processes and review why indeed we do things the way we do. Whilst we know that John won’t miss some of our technological requirements such as electronic expense reimbursements or online learning, he will be truly missed by all of us and we hope he will miss us too.