BSS, GHS and COCIN missionaries gathered at Purley Baptist Church (South East London) on Friday 20th May 2016 to celebrate the life of the pioneer principal of BSS Gindiri, late Mr. Owen David Wilmshurst, who died at the age of 101 on the 28th of April 2016 in London.
Mr Wilmshurst who became the first principal of the prestigious school in 1950 laid the foundation for academic excellence, thought leadership, service, discipline and christian values.
A seasoned chemist and mathematician, Mr. Wilmshurst graduated the first set of students from the school in 1955 (a total of 16 students which included late J D Gomwalk, Prof. Ochapa Onazi, James Lot, Ayo Abifarin). He was then appointed warden of the entire COCIN Gindiri school compound (comprising BSS, GHS, teachers college and the school for the blind etc) in 1956.
Late Mr. Wilmshurst went on to take on several other roles within the COCIN mission before returning to England in 1963.
He is survived by his wife Connie Wilmshurst (99 years of age), five children – Jessica, Elizabeth, Andrew, Tim and Steve Wilmshurst, 12 grand children and several great grand children.
The thanks giving service was a true celebration of the life, legacy and purpose of a man who became a pioneer, a mentor, pace-setter, father, grandfather and husband – as such, several individuals paid glowing tributes and eulogies to a life well spent.
These included his children (Jessica, Elizabeth, Andrew, Tim and Steve), Mr. Geoffrey Dearsley (second principal of BSS Gindiri from 1956), Mr. Maurice Cottom (third principal of BSS Gindiri), Mr. John Dean (former teacher at BSS Gindiri), Rev Alan Chilver and members of the Purley baptist church where Mr Wilmshurst worshiped.
Travelling from Nigeria to attend the event, were Prof. Suleman Bogoro (GOSA ’76 and the executive secretary of Tetfund). Prof. Bogoro represented the GOSA family, bringing glowing tributes on behalf of the president Prof. Rotgak Gofwen. Also travelling to represent the first set of BSS (i.e., GOSA ’55), was Dr. Ayo Abifarin a renown plant geneticist, who is only one of three surviving members from the set. He spoke heartily about the character, integrity and values of late Mr. Wilmshurst, extolling his foresight and discipline.
On behalf of the COCIN family, Reverend Kefas Tang’an of COCIN London, eulogized the late principal as a true pioneer, a pace-setter and an obedient servant of the Great Commission. He brought hearty condolences from the COCIN general secretary and the COCIN family – saying the late Mr. Wilmshurst and other COCIN missionaries’ legacy and impact will transcend generations.
Pastor of Purley Baptist Church – Rev. James Collins
Dr. Ayo David Abifarin (One of the 3 surviving members of the first GOSA set of 1955)
Dr. Ayo David Abifarin, Mr. Moses Kallamu, Prof. Suleman Bogoro, Mr. Wapshak Nastu, Dr. Gwangtim Poyi and Mr. George Longjan
SOURCE: Viewpoint Nigeria