From the family of Brian Hodges:

As a family we are sad to share the loss of our father Brian Hodges, who passed away peacefully at Lynhales Hall Nursing home in Herefordshire with his daughter Emily at his side. We have created this page to share just some of our memories of Dad and also provide a tribute to his life’s work in the community. During these difficult times it is not possible for all of Brian’s friends and Christian Bretheren to come together and give thanks for his life due to Covid 19. The isolation from his friends and his beloved chapel was a difficult burden for Dad in the last months of his life and we know that many people who knew Brian over the years will feel sad not to be able to support the family during this time and come together to share memories. 

Due to Covid 19 the funeral service is for immediate family members only. However, we plan to hold a memorial service at a later time for those who would like to attend when it is safe for us all to meet together.

Instead, we would like to share some memories of Dad and his work here on this page and offer an opportunity for people to share their own memories and, if desired, make a contribution. We hope to raise enough money to create a meaningful memorial to Dad and Mum at their beloved Chapel in Lugwardine. Any surplus money will be used to ensure that their work within the community is able to continue at Lugwardine Chapel.

Brian’s Story

Brian Ivor Hodges, son of Phyllis and Henry Ivor and big brother to Ian and Viv, was born in Bilston, Wolverhampton in 1942. Brian loved spending time when he was young in Shropshire, near Clee Hill on the farm with his Grandad and had very fond memories of this time and a love for Shire Horses. Brian’s wicked Black Country sense of humour and of course his love for Wolverhampton Wanderers remained true for his his whole life. 

Brian was 14 when he first met Elizabeth attending fellowship at Bethany Chapel in Wednesfield. Although Brian was trained as an apprentice electrical engineer he followed his true calling and dedicated his life to God’s work – this journey began at Bible college in Devon, while Elizabeth attended teaching college in Darlington. Brian and Elizabeth were married at Bethany Chapel and began their life’s work together in Christian ministry. 

Brian and Elizabeth moved to Italy and studied Italian at a college in Perugia before moving to a seaside town called Senigallia in the late 60’s. It was here that they began their Christian ministry. A young family soon followed, with their first born child, Timothy, heartbreakingly stillborn on Boxing day 1969. However, Brian and Elizabeth were soon able to rejoice when Luke, Julian and Emily later arrived. The young children were often included in Brian’s Mission Newsletters and his work, and time was divided between home in Ludlow and their home in a village called Corrinaldo in Italy. 

As the children grew, Elizabeth settled in Hereford with the children while they attended school and worked part time as a primary school teacher to support the family while Brian continued his voluntary work in Italy. During this time Brian also volunteered for humanitarian work carried out by the British Red Cross in Italy as a devastating Earthquake hit the country. Brian would often share memories of this time during his ministry. 

It was in 1983 Brian returned from Italy for the last time, and he and Elizabeth moved home to Tupsley in Hereford with the family and began to focus their work upon finding a base for their new Church and Christian fellowship. In the early days they met in the Youth centre in Piggot Close before they found Lugwardine Chapel. The Chapel had been empty for decades and was in much need of restoration. This was when Brian’s true devotion and lifes work began and he dedicated his next almost 40 years to the Chapel Building and the ministry there. 

The chapel was restored mostly by Brian himself who, with his own two hands, built the newer extension on the side of the chapel. Brian, Elizabeth and the Fellowship had regular meetings and continued outreach work in the community and began the notorious ‘kids club’ : a weekly youth club at the Chapel which Brian and Elizabeth put their full attention into. The Chapel has been the base for many different projects and good causes including the “Operation Christmas Child” Shoe box campaign which was introduced to the county of Herefordshire by Brian and Elizabeth and had it’s humble beginnings in the Chapel where each donated shoe box was checked and packed by Elizabeth and Brian collected them from the local schools. Brian and Elizabeth would later travel with the organisation to Azerbijan to help deliver the boxes. Many people from the community will remember them for this work or from their outreach work and assemblies they used to deliver in the local schools.

In March 2011 Elizabeth passed away from lung cancer and Brian found it difficult to come to terms with this loss, never truly recovering from the grief. The early signs of Parkinsons had already been showing for some time and it was around this time he first received his diagnosis as the disease progressed. Brian remained stubbornly optimistic that the diagnois was incorrect and continued to attend fellowship and make daily visits to check up on his beloved Chapel. Even when Brian was no longer safe to drive he would just walk the 2 mile round trip to the chapel to “check everything was ok”. 

The Covid19 pandemic hit the country in early 2020, at a time when the Parkinsons had progressed to an advanced stage and it was doubly sad for Dad who could not understand why he was not allowed to make his daily visits to check up on his Chapel or share in fellowship with his friends. 

Dad will be laid to rest in Lugwardine cemetary, with his wife Elizabeth and within view of his beloved Chapel.