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Reverend Eric Crooks: Chaplain pushed for church in hospital

The Reverend Eric Crooks, who died recently, was a well-known Church of Ireland clergyman with deep roots in the Portadown area and in Dundonald, where he was rector at St Elizabeth's for 20 years.

The use of Dundonald Presbyterian Church was granted for the funeral service because St Elizabeth's is undergoing renovations.

His son Jonny said: "My father would have a smile on his face – for a Church of Ireland minister having a funeral service in a Presbyterian Church."

He said that Portadown was the starting point for his father's journey in life, "a journey with Jesus in the Boys' Brigade, the Church Army, Oakhill training and the ordained ministry".

The Reverend Crooks was a supporter of Portadown Football Club, particularly when the team was doing well, and also had a great passion for people.

"He had the skill for talking, for coming alongside, giving comfort, laughing, listening, giving help and understanding, crying with, celebrating, consoling, building up, and more importantly bringing God into focus and praying with people," his son said.

The Reverend Crooks also served in Bolton in England, Lurgan, Loughbrickland/Donaghmore, and at All Saints' Belfast.

He was also for many years a chaplain to the Ulster Hospital at Dundonald.

"As chaplain he pushed for, and finally saw the hospital build, a church, for reflection, a place to offer God's help to patients, staff and family," Mr Crooks added.

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