George Dent (1929-2019) – A tribute

Many in Green Christian remember George Dent with respect and affection. George died in hospital on 30/early hours of 31 January following a sudden stroke. He was in good health until this and enjoying life in Andover with his wife Joyce. There will be a green burial on Monday 18th February at 2.30pm attended by the family and very close friends. The memorial service /service of thanks-giving for his life to which all are very welcome will be the same day at 3.30pm in Andover URC Church, SP10 1ES, where we held our CEL conference in 2005

George Dent was CEL’s Joint National Coordinator in the 1990s and Information Officer in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and has been an active member of CEL and Green Christian ever since. He has given many of us in CEL/Green Christian great encouragement and friendship over the years.
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George Dent was born near Bedale in North Yorkshire and taught at St Aidan’s School Harrogate where he taught rural science with a special interest in seeds. He joined the newly formed Ripon Christian Ecology Group in the late 1980s. He soon started a Harrogate Local Group and continued to lead that group for many years. Jean Dent, his wife for 40 years, was very supportive of his green endeavours.

In July 1991 George and Judith Allinson travelled down to London from Yorkshire to attend a CEL Steering Committee (SC) meeting. The following November George attended his second SC meeting and agreed to be Joint National Coordinator — a role he continued in for four years. In 1995 he took on the newly formed post of Information Officer. For the next seven years George was the first point of call for anyone contacting CEL.
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Ruth Jarman, our current Admin Officer says,

“George was my first ever contact with CEL. It was when I thought I was the only person in the world who had made the connection between Christianity and looking after the world, I ‘searched’ ‘Christian’ and ‘Environment’ and found CEL and sent a membership form off in the post immediately. A couple of days later the phone rang and it was George asking if I’d like to join the Steering Committee. And the rest is history.”
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Paul Bodenham, our current chair, says,

“It was George who drew me in to CEL. Yes, he was kind, modest, intelligent, and yet clearheaded and determined when it came to environmental matters. I can see how he would have been an important leader for CEL in his prime.”
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George retired from CEL’s SC in 2004, but he continued to support CEL and Green Christian for the rest of his life. A while after his wife Jean’s death he married Joyce Dinham, who had been a friend to both of them, and whom he had known at school in Northallerton. He moved down to Andover where she lived. Joyce had played a big part in organising the 2005 national CEL conference there. George remained active. He and Joyce continued to support Andover local GC group. And those on Green Christian’s CELink discussion group will have read a post from George just a few days before he died.

There is a nice article on the Churchill website: – (Churchill Retirement Living’s Chantry Lodge in Andover -retired-couple-prove-its-never-too-late-for-love-at-local-lodge)

Several of those on CEL’s SC with George have sent in tributes:

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Judith Allinson (Web Editor):

George Dent and I both got involved with Christian Ecology Link via Ripon local CEL group, and both attended our first Steering Committee Meeting in London together as new people on steering committee. He started a Harrogate Local Group. I attended a few of their meetings – e.g. the visit of David Bowe our local Labour MEP in 2004 . And the Harrogate CEL group visit to the wildlife friendly farm in 1999 George was stable, loyal and pragmatic, with a rural science teacher background. He was a patient, sensible, sympathetic friend, well supported by his lovely wife Jean, and after her death, by his second wife Joyce (also lovely!).

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Barbara and Ed Echlin:

We first met George in the mid 1980s at a Greenpeace meeting in Harrogate where Ed was speaking. We became, and remained, good friends, for the next 30 plus years. George was a great and splendoured man who radiated good in everything he touched.

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Euan McPhee: (Write/Coordinator of CEL’s Sustainability pack in the 1990s;)

“Whilst George gave the outward appearance of a conventional figure, perhaps not unlike Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army, nothing could be less like the clear-sighted visionary that he was. His firm but fair guidance during his time as chair of the steering committee provided a degree of stability and realism that helped to keep some of us more idealistic and precipitate members more grounded. However, he never lacked drive and enthusiasm and an absolute belief in the rightness of what CEL was about. His background in education I feel provided a passion for informing and empowering the next generation; he was a living example of the saying that we do not bequeath the earth to the next generation, we are borrowing it from them. Away from the role of steering group chair, he was a warm and sensitive man whose conversation always left one feeling valued and uplifted. Green Christian owes this gentle saint much for his wise stewardship of its early days.”

Mike Pauley:

“I have many happy memories of George and, of course, Jean too. George was involved right from the start of CEL, in the days when it was CEG. We served on the Steering Committee together and in those early days the agenda was always overloaded. George even chaired some of those meetings which was not easy when there were people in the room who did not want to be ‘chaired’. His punctuality, regularity and stamina epitomized his passion for the cause and his level of commitment, especially as he lived in Harrogate in those days and most of the meetings were in London.
He was unfailingly courteous and kind with an endearing and gentle sense of humour. My happiest memories of CEL relate to the conferences, not only because of the excellent speakers, but of all the opportunities they afforded to chat to like-minded people. People like George, who was a great advert for CEL and a blessing to all his friends.”

Ashley Ralston:

“George was always willing to listen and offer help where he could. A sad loss, my condolences to Joyce”….

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Laura Deacon (Information Officer from 2001 – 2009)

George handed over the job of the Information Officer for Christian Ecology Link to me in 2001.  I spent a very enjoyable night and day at his house in Harrogate with George and his wife Jean, learning the ropes for the work of Information Officer.  George was a great mentor to me and showed me everything I needed to know.  Then a couple of weeks later he and Jean came to my house in Lancaster and deposited boxes and boxes of files in my front room for me!  They stayed for lunch and we had a good talk about the work again.  George was always supportive of my endeavours as Information Officer.  He provided a solid foundation for much of CEL’s work over the years.  I owe him much gratitude for his kindness, gentleness and love.  His commitment to CEL and his love for the Earth was very evident.  At CEL Steering Committee meetings he always called a spade a spade – quietly but firmly.  He will be missed by us all I am sure. 

The pictures below are copyright of Judith Allinson, GC Web Editor – either taken by her, or with her camera!

George and Jean Dent – Harrogate 1991
Christian Ecology Link Conference in Shropshire 13-15 May 1994 – George and Jean Dent centre (third from right)
Ripon and Harrogate CEG/CEL visit to Thornborough Henge near Ripon in mid 1990s
CEL Annual Members Meeting /conference October 1995 at Kew. Speaker Nigel Hepper in Centre, George Dent to his left
George Dent at the launch of the CEL Millennium Certificate in London – June 1997
A CEL Steering Committee Meeting: George Dent on right of picture. 6 Sept 1997
Sean McDonagh, guest speaker at CEL Conference near Nottingham when we presented the first Millennium certificate. (George in background)
Southwark Cathedral London Churches Conference on the Environment November 1998
   Second to back row: George Dent on the far left and Sam Berry on the far right
George Dent at the CEL stall at the London Churches Conference, Southwark Cathedral in November 1998
George Dent presenting the Christian Ecology Link Millennium Challenge Certificate to The Sunday Club, St Gregory’s Church, Bedale North Yorkshire in April 2000.

CEL Steering Committee October 2003 show new climate posters
George Dent (right) introduces David Bowe (Labour) MEP
at Harrogate CEL Meeting April 2004
Jemima Parker and George Dent (left) show David Bowe MEP (right) a copy of Green Christian. (Jemima Parker later became the DEO for the Leeds Diocese.)

This post is still being written. If you have comments, add them in the comments section below – or if you have a tribute for George related to CEL / Green Christian send it to webeditor@greenchristian.org.uk 

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2 comments on “George Dent (1929-2019) – A tribute
  1. Everyone is welcome at the Memorial Service at Andover United Reformed Church.

  2. Ann Wills says:

    When I first joined CEL George was such a main part of it as he was then a National Coordinator and he took on many other roles within CEL. He was such a hard worker. He liked me to send him my press cuttings about the environment and pollution which I did for quite a few years, until computers took over as an information source. I always found him very kind and friendly.

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