Rob - RichLeighton

Rev. Rob Hampson

I first met Rob Hampson many years ago when we were both 11 and had just joined Hall Mead Secondary School in Upminster.

Rob was the noisy, sometimes disruptive one in our class, but he also had a big heart, a great sense of humour, and I guess he was the "Leader of our Gang".

He was also fearsomely intelligent, and very inventive in working out new ways of getting into trouble.

Over the next 5 years I got to know Rob really well, as did Nigel, Graham, & Mike, who were in the same class. We hung out together throughout our school years, and spent many hours round Rob's house, where we would enjoy the hospitality of Mr & Mrs H, and would watch in awe as he would dismantle motorbike engines and wash them in the kitchen sink when his mum or sisters were not there to prevent him doing so.

Rob went from Hall Mead on to the London School of Economics, where he gained the first of his degrees (Political History and Economics). Not being one to rest on his laurels, and exhibiting no real desire to enter into a conventional job or career, he went on to study at Cambridge, gaining a degree in Theology, plus a Degree, and Doctorate in Philosophy,

It was whilst he was studying, that Rob recognised his calling as a Vicar. He completed his practical training and was ordained into the Church of England in 1993, becoming Vicar at Holy Trinity Woodford in 2001.

Rob became a local celebrity in South Woodford and was often in the local papers, either for his community work, such as development of inter-faith links between his Church and the local Synagogues and Mosques, and in 2007 when the local paper ran a competition amongst eligible women to find a bride for the local vicar, with a prize for the three lucky winners of a date with Rob, together with a reporter and photographer from the local paper !!

Unfortunately for the winners, Rob had other plans, and a developing relationship with Florence, who he had met through the church, culminated in their marriage 2009. As Rob knew about my passion for photography, he asked me to be the official wedding photographer, and this was indeed my first professional engagement as a photographer.

Having been friends since 1970, and having kept in touch all these years, I, and all his friends  were devastated 4½ years ago when Rob was diagnosed with cancer, and given a life expectancy of about 15 months. 

Far from just accepting this prognosis, Rob addressed this in the same way as he had always tacked life's challenges, in that of facing it positively, cheerfully and with the support of Florence, his family and friends, doing everything in his power to live his life joyfully and to the full.

Unfortunately this journey came to an end on the 6th May, when Rob finally succumbed to his cancer.

Despite his death, he remains an inspiration to all who knew him, and I have set up this page to hold a tribute using photos taken during his lifetime supplied by friends and family, and to display the photos of his funeral that Florence asked me to take. Together, these show the love and esteem in which he was held by all who knew him.


Rich Leighton

May 2018

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