Alf Ward

On Sunday 18th June 1972 Wycliffe and I carried the Regent Hall Salvation Army Corps flag out into a gale force wind blowing down Oxford Street in London.  As we grasped the flag between us, a mighty gust bent the pole into a curve at the top. We looked at each and smiled. I was new to the Army and was ready to turn back, but Wycliffe pulled his band cap down tight around his forehead and signalled for me to do the same.

Then I saw – in the turning of an eye – Wycliffe’s utmost determination and commitment to proceed for the cause. The band played a steady drumbeat behind us and Wycliffe led the way to the open air meeting. Wycliffe was steadfast in his faith and the storm was not going to stop him witnessing at Oxford Circus that evening. His example of service to the needs of others has remained with me all my life.

One of Wycliffe’s favourite words – when speaking at a Joyfolk concert or a Sunday meeting was “cogent.”  And, indeed, Wycliffe’s remarks were always incisive, relevant, and compelling to all in attendance. A thought provoking presentation that ‘touched a chord in everyone’s heart.’ That was the ‘hallmark’ of Wycliffe’s testimony to the Lord’s work in his life.

The need to have a good, reliable and steady drummer is of paramount importance to any musical group. And, the best of drummers are those that we are hardly aware of. So it was with Wycliffe. Whether in the band or in his daily life, he laboured without drawing attention to himself or the wonderful work he was doing for the disabled. He kept a quiet, reliable rhythm whilst maintaining a highly sensitive awareness regarding their special needs.

Sometimes, on our earthly journey, we are fortunate to be blessed by individuals whose sole purpose in this life resides in the care and well-being of others. Wycliffe was one such man. His sympathetic understanding and concern for those less fortunate among us permeated his life’s work – yet his thoughtful kindness had no human-state boundaries.

One day Wycliffe was called to open the door of ‘Park House’ whilst he worked on a project for the The Leonard Cheshire Foundation on the Queen’s estate in Sandringham. There stood a young lady in the teeming rain outside……it was Princess Diana.

Upon entering she explained that she had come to see if a door frame from her childhood still remained in the house where she had grown up. She showed Wycliffe the door frame where her siblings’ heights, as children, had been recorded. Unfortunately, the renovations to the house would destroy it. However, after she left, Wycliffe had a section of the frame removed and sent to Diana as a childhood memory.

Dear Wycliffe Noble, whose life we remember and celebrate was an exceptional man in every way. He maintained a steady reliable beat of faith in the Lord that manifested itself through his personal Christianity.  Wycliffe’s OBE for his service to the nation should also read OBE “Others Before Ego” as a fitting picture of his life.

All the way, from June 1972, I shall remember his determination and commitment God’s purpose on that evening. His is a tough standard to live up to but, if we keep to the faith he exemplified, we shall find joy in the journey of service before self.

May God bless you all.  Be ‘happy’……for you had the privilege of knowing Wycliffe Noble.

Alf Ward

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