War veteran fulfils lifelong baptism pledge

Churchgoer has service at St Margaret's in Aislaby.

Friday, 4th November 2016, 11:09 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:02 pm
Bob King with Vicar Veronica Carolan and sponsors Peter and Lindy Bailey. Picture by Alexandra de Villeay.

A 93-year-old man has put to bed a lifelong doubt that he may not have been baptised as a child.

Bob King, from Aislaby, has nursed the doubt since the age of 16, when he first took communion in the Royal Navy, and has lived with a conscience disturbed by the fact that he nevertheless took confirmation and, maybe contrary to the requirements of his faith, has taken communion for 77 years.

He came from a very broken family and was never able to discover the truth, but assumed he had been christened, since the custom of the day was for all babies to receive baptism at a very young age.

Prior to Confirmation he was asked if he had been christened, and replied “yes”, but he was never truly sure.

Even at an elderly age, it was possible for Bob to set his conscience at rest by being conditionally baptised at a special service, held at St Margaret’s Church in Aislaby.

Bob was sponsored by Peter and Lindy Bailey, surrounded by his friends and fellow worshipers, who helped make it a truly memorable occasion.

Vicar of Lower Esk, Veronica Carolan, who performed the baptism, said: “We thank Bob for sharing this experience with us and for his generosity in providing a champagne toast after the service. A morning to remember!”

Mr King said: “The story is a kind of parable of our times: ‘It is never too late to redeem the past.’

Bob King entered the Royal Navy at the age of 16 where he was introduced to the Christian faith by a chaplain.

He went on to fight in the Second World War before retiring from the Navy in 1960.

Bob later joined the steel industry, which first brought him to Yorkshire. He has lived in Aislaby since 1987.

Speaking about the baptism service he said: “It means a lot to me, it has played on my conscience for 77 years.

“The church was beautifully decorated and a lovely cake was made for me.

“Not many people are able to remember or enjoy their own baptism,” he joked.