Nobody can think of Ted (Dad) without thinking of Gambia.
His love for the country and people was obvious to everyone who met him. If you
spoke to him you would also soon be very aware of his love for Jesus, his Lord
and Saviour - the reason why he was who he was. He wouldn't want me to say how
wonderful he was and how kind, caring, loving and encouraging he was without
giving praise to Jesus. "What would Jesus do?" was on his silver
bracelet that he always wore and it was so obvious this was how he lived his
life, constantly thinking about what Jesus would do.
The first time I heard him preach was in a tiny church room in Gambia. He was talking about being a tea pot for Jesus not a coffee pot. To be honest I can't remember the point but it is one of my very first memories of him. Most other memories of him are in Gambia (or in a certain fish and chip shop in Braunton!) messing around with his "sons" - playing with a child, winding up the boys in school, kicking a football, encouraging young teenagers to go to school, helping the single mum provide for her children, finding sponsors for those struggling to go to school, telling people about Jesus and showing His love in everything he did.
A verse that will always remind me of Dad is John 15:12 - "This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you." Dad did this in a way I have seen in very few, if any other people. Showing the love of Jesus to so many. The love of a father. Unfaltering, unconditional, selfless, unquestioning love. He (and Beth) showed this love to me so many times over the years since I met them. There were 2 especially big situations that I found myself in where others questioned me, friends left me and colleagues spoke untruths. But Dad was there, standing strong. Supporting and encouraging me, never once showing anything but love and support. Never once questioning me. Never once unsure. Selfless. This is the Dad I will always remember. The one who put Jesus, Beth of course and others ahead of himself.
"We're marching to Zion, beautiful beautiful Zion; We're marching upward to Zion, the beautiful city of God."
A man of God and an ardent supporter of Seedlings with a passion for the children of The Gambia
People like Ted are a rare breed. Small in stature but a giant of a man. Kind, considerate, loyal and hardworking, he was the reliable friend who could always be counted upon. I only knew him for 6 years but in all that time he never once let go of his Christian ethics. He was intelligent and wise with a sense of humour. To me one of his greatest assets was that he loved children and was compassionate and understanding in his relationships with them which spanned his whole life. We shall miss him but he left behind lessons in humanity which we can all learn from – I will miss him. Geoff Musselwhite
So sad to hear of Ted's death, take comfort in knowing his fantastic energy kindness and sheer determination will live on, through Seedlings and all who had the great pleasure of knowing him. He always made me feel at ease whenever we were in Gambia. He was encouraging and thoughtful and great fun. The children loved him immensely and his and Beth's generosity of love and heart were boundless. What a brilliant man. He will be missed as much in The Gambia as he is here. My thoughts love and prayers are with Beth family and extended family of Seedlings and The Gambia. Love, Ali Powell xxxxxxx
"He was a very compassionate and generous man who had the heart of Christ for children and young people, especially those from under-privileged backgrounds, He had a deep love and respect for the people of The Gambia and worked so very hard with Beth raising funds to help as many children as possible in the Gambia to get an education and a brighter future. He also showed a passion for people to receive the Good News of the truth of the Gospel. He was such a kind and gentle man who will be very sadly missed." Sonia Mullings
I first met Ted and Beth in 2006 when they came on their 1st ever trip with Seedlings. It wasn’t their first time in Gambia though and I always remember Ted counting each time he had been. ‘It’s our 27th time now!! Or he would say ‘’only 45 days and 6 hrs until we leave!! He was always so excited to go to Gambia and see all his Gambian children.
As Ted and Beth have been such a huge part of our lives these last 10 years obviously I have tonnes of lovely memories but will just pick out a few for you.
Ted was like a father and grandad to my Joshy. I remember years ago when we were doing our suitcase sort outs upstairs in Barnstaple Baptist church, Josh and Ted would go off to discuss important things that Josh could talk to a man about!! He respected and looked up to Ted.
Ted would take time to write to various lads around the country to encourage them and lift them up. I don’t know many men who would be so kind like that. He had such a father heart for so many and really reflected Gods love and patience.Ted was also a great man of faith. He would tell of many stories of miracles and Gods amazing provision.
Like the time when he was flying at the age of 17 and there wasn’t enough fuel to get across the ocean and God helped them or the time him and his buddy were down the mines and God saved his life. He had many wonderful stories I loved to listen to.
Ted also had a great sense of humour and was great fun to be around. Even when he was approaching 80 he used to say.’’ I don’t like old people. They smell!!’’
Obviously Ted and Beth have been key people over the last few years in the development and running of Seedlings school. He was very active in the practical ways of packing up dozens of tables and chairs for shipment out there and the administrative side being our trustee for a long time. The paperwork side and charity meetings probably wasn’t his favourite part but he knew it was for the children and that’s what he loved so much.
I am missing Ted so much, as our the dozens if not 100’s of other people around that he influenced and who loved him, but not half as much as Beth. They were married for more than 55 years! I remember the day we were in Gambia celebrating their 50th at our school! They were pretty inseparable and adored each other. What a great loss but for him I know he is with Jesus who he loved and served all of his life.Ruthy Kingdon
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Seedlings for Christ is a British based charity carrying out most of it's work in Gambia, West Africa. Find out what projects are happening now by clicking here and how you can get involved and help here.