On 16 December, St Philips held a service of thanksgiving for the life of Michael Burns, who was one of the longest-serving members of St Philip’s congregation. Michael made a huge contribution to the Church, both to the life of St Philip’s and to the wider Church of England as a member of the Deanery Synod.
Michael trained as an actuary at Equity & Law Life Assurance Society, and eventually became their General Manager and a Director in 1974. He was also a director of the Ecclesiastical Insurance, a Vice President of the Insurance Institute of London and for a time he was President of the Insurance charities. He loved travelling, delighting in passing on to friends the names of any excellent hotels he found, and music, and sang for 50 years in the Goldsmith’s Choral Union Choir until his health gave way.
At St Philip’s, Michael served many roles over the years, including acting as treasurer and stewardship officer. At church lunches he would come round with bottles of wine to top up glasses, and (not forgetting his treasurer role!) to extract payment for the meal! His was a voice of reason at many church meetings and he was an excellent proof reader of the Church’s annual report.
Michael was a quiet but substantial donor to the church. He will also be remembered by many as a keen and loyal member of the choir, which greatly benefitted from his musical knowledge, and as genial host for the choir after the pre-Christmas carol singing in Kensington High Street tube station over several years. Michael faced his death with calm acceptance and great courage, lovingly cared for by another member of the St Philip’s congregation, Jill Bassett.