Peter Doran, RIP

It is my sad task to share the news that Peter Doran passed away this evening; he has been fighting prostate cancer for some time.

Peter’s time with the pilgrims was relatively short: I remember him meeting us (with Sarah) on the top of the Malvern Hills in 2004 after which he was a regular for several years, before illness hit, but he made a big impact. He was an inspirational leader and as a relatively novice pilgrim was selected as coordinator, leading in 2007 and 2008, the first passing close to his home on the Isle of Wight, the latter his once-and-future home in Gloucestershire. In 2007 Peter kept the pilgrimage show on the road when his good friend Mgr Pat Olivier suffered a heart attack and died whilst walking with us.

I personally remember Peter as a very supportive deputy when I became coordinator in 2009 (although I did have to tell him for being disruptive during notices – there is a certain pleasure in telling a retired headteacher to “SHUT UP DORAN”). Even after he actively walked with us, Peter was an ambassador for the pilgrimage.

Peter leaves behind a pilgrim family: his wife Joan walked with us in the 1970s; Mandy in the 1980s; Sarah in the 90s and since; Ben has put in an appearance from time to time too; and the many grandchildren he loved have also joined us along the way.

Peter will be sadly missed, but I can see him even now, at the pearly gates, saying to St Peter “you see these pilgrims, wearing crosses like this, I know they’re a bit grubby, but let them in”.

Rest in peace, Peter.

Peter Doran waterfight with his successor as coordinator
Peter Doran waterfight with his successor as coordinator

23 thoughts on “Peter Doran, RIP”

  1. We will miss you Peter! Love to all the family and let them know they are in our thoughts and prayers at this very sad time. Peter had a very special way with people and I am so glad my family had the greatest pleasure knowing him. He was especially wonderful with the young people involved with the Pilgrimage and I feel privileged to have known him. X x

    1. Thank you Clare for all your thoughts and prayers at this time. He will be greatly missed by so many people – family, friends and pilgrim family alike. Xx

  2. Sad news about Peter, a great chap who enjoyed a joke. Yes his spirit will be sadly missed. All sympathy to his family, but I’m sure they have many good memories to warm them.

  3. Such sad news. Peter always provided such encouragement on the pilgrimages, keeping everyone’s spirits up and getting people to do their fair share of the washing up!! May he join the rest of the pilgrimage family in heaven. It will be quite a party! Thoughts and prayers are with all his family who have been blessed with a wonderful Dad, husband and Grandad xxx

    1. Thank you Lesley,
      I’m sure he will have quite a party with the rest of the pilgrim family in heaven. He will be greatly missed by so many people family and friends. Xx

  4. Our prayers are with you all from across the Atlantic, from the United States. We were fortunate to meet Peter about twenty years ago. Peter, we will miss you but we also know that you are in God’s divine presence. May you rest in peace.

  5. I met him only briefly but enjoyed his company and he was clearly a man who was generous with his time and talents.
    May he journey fearlessly towards his Heavenly Father.

    Please send my message to Sarah with my sympathies.

  6. RIP Peter, you did more than anyone ever knew , always a cheerful word, never negative, thank you,

  7. Not only was Peter a talented and colourful man, but he also expanded our idea of pilgrimage giving. The Offertory, under Peter’s guidance, came to also include a motley collection of pilgrim artefacts, one or two brought to the altar at each pilgrim service with a brief explanation as to their value. This is just one (of many) gifts that Peter gave to pilgrimage. He will be sorely missed. It was so good to see Peter in Brighton on Pilgrimage last summer; our love and condolences to the Doran family at this sad time; may he rest in peace.

  8. Dear Joan
    Sorry to hear of your sad loss.Be assured of our prayers at this time.If there is anything we can do, let us know.I didn’t know Peter very well but I remember you on the earlier pilgrimages when we had meals together with Peter Madden (Salisbury in particular) but he was a. gentleman who quietly supported many.
    May he enjoy the pilgrimage feast in heaven. Love

    Carol and John Pritchard.

  9. Peter had such a way of engaging with people, especially the young. He always asked after Adam having met him first as a young baby and I am sure he is looking down on him now, reminding him to do his homework! Love and prayers to the family, his own one and the wider Pilgrimage one. God bless x

  10. Peter was the coordinator on my first pilgrimage in 2008. He was an inspiring leader; energetic, informed, prayerful and welcoming. He found time to share with pilgrims and was a great encourager, very good at listening and at asking the more challenging questions – even as recently as last summer when he and Sarah joined a pilgrimage lunch stop! It was a joy to see him there. The pilgrimage owes a debt of gratitude to Peter and our prayers are with Sarah and the family at this time.

  11. Dear Sarah,
    May I send you my condolences on the sad loss of Peter.
    He was especially supportive of me as a new pilgrim with the ABEWP in 2007 and I valued very much the support he extended for the Pro-Life cause.
    May he rest in Peace, always fondly remembered by all us pilgrims.

    God bless you and your family,
    Catherine Scott

  12. God Bless Peter,thanks for being a good friend and such a good man to walk beside . May your present journey be full of light and your front marker be the Good Shepherd.

  13. My best memory of Peter is when, with difficulty, he got out of a car at Doug’s prayer stop, and started telling me about a book about the Dutch 17th century which he enjoyed. Just like him to share information he knew I would like to have, even at a moment like that.
    Peter was a man you could not know enough of.

  14. Red shirt, red shorts, healthy red glow on face. That is how I remember Peter. Was he making a political point? He brought enthusiasm, encouragement, compassion and loads of wisdom to the pilgrimage. Peter was a regular in the gang who go to the pub after dinner and was always the life and soul of the party.
    He was a deacon but I don’t ever recall seeing him in his clerical collar on the pilgrimage. I have spotted an obituary on his church’s website here: . This emphasises how important ecumenical activities were to him.
    He had another link to the Diocese of A&B in addition to the pilgrimage in that he was a past headmaster of St Andrew’s catholic secondary school in Leatherhead.
    God bless

    1. Thanks for the link given in your email John. I love the photo of Peter and reading the tribute it really looks as though he was ecumenism personified. Wonderful man. The welcoming party will be impatiently awaiting him in Heaven. Sorry I didn’t get to know him better.

      1. Thank you Teresa,
        Yes he was a truly ecumenical person. He touched so many people. The number of people who have made comments about his rememberance service reflection out in Abbey Terrace to literally a thousand people or more – hard to believe that many can fit there in the square but it happened last year. He might he been frailer but he would not give up. His determination helped him fight the cancer for 5 years. He lived life full and active to the end. He will be missed by many.

    2. Thank you John,
      I hadn’t seen what Fr Peter had written about my dad.
      Yes he was the life and soul of any group. Determined to live life to the full even right up to the end. He couldn’t have fought it any more than he did. He died peacefully and with dignity.
      He will be missed by so many and that was reflected on how full st Nicholas was on the Sunday when his body was bought to lay in rest the night before the funeral, how full St Peter’s church was for his funeral and how many came to the graveside on the Isle of Wight.
      May you be at peace now dad and free of pain . We will all miss you greatly.

  15. My condolences to Joan, Mandy, Sarah and Ben. I went to sixth form with Sarah and so knew Peter at that time. His funeral was announced at Mass in Gloucester this morning. Sending my very best wishes to all of you and may he rest in peace.

    1. Thank you Joanna,
      My dad fought the cancer for 5 years giving it everything he could. He lived life to the full. Just the same as you will remember.
      Great to hear from you. I am back in England after 7 years teaching in the British school in Cordoda in Spain. Would be great to meet up some time when I am back in Gloucestershire .
      Sarah X

  16. i am an ‘old boy’ of st. andrew’s school. leatherhead, surrey. peter was an outstanding teacher and the finest history master i have met in education.

    peter’s life celebrated all that is noble about catholic and christian education.

    i am grateful to him for the support he gave me when i was a student in leatherhead.

    rest in peace

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