Alresford: Tributes to chaplain after fatal crash

TRIBUTES have been paid to an “open-hearted, generous, and caring” hospital chaplain who died after a car crash in north Essex.

Susan Harper died at the scene of the incident after the car she was driving ploughed into some trees off the B1027 in Alresford on Sunday afternoon.

The 65-year-old from Crestlands served as a chaplain at Clacton Community Hospital and was an active member of St Andrews Church in Alresford.

She was on her way to the church for choir practice after visiting her mother Freda when the accident happened at about 4.30pm. It is thought she lost control of her blue Toyota RAV4 before it came off the road.

Mrs Harper leaves behind her husband John, their daughter Katherine, her two step-sons Paul and Peter and her mother Freda.

Rector of St Andrews Church, Pauline Scott, yesterday paid tribute to Mrs Harper. She said: “Susan was an open-hearted, generous, and caring person. Nothing was too much trouble for her and she would always be the first to offer a helping hand.

“She was positive, friendly and cheerful and she lived out her Christian faith in a pro active way - her love for God and His people evident at all times.

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“She valued the power of prayer and prayer meetings in her house saw many answers to prayer.

“Susan’s deepening spirituality was evident for all to see and the warmth of her personality was a joy to experience.

“She was a much loved member of St Andrew’s Church in Alresford, part of the Preaching Team and very much involved in the Healing and Prayer Ministry there.

“At Sunday morning worship she was her usual bright bubbly self, offering her usual concern for others and excited at preparations for Christmas.”

The church held a service led by prayers on Sunday evening following news of the tragic incident.

Ms Scott said: “We heard the terrible news just before our evening service and, as the news spread, others came along to join those already there, gaining comfort from just being together and the service became instead an impromptu time of prayer.”

The rector also praised the support Mrs Harper gave to others who had experienced tragedy.

“Susan’s friendship was unconditional fun, and free from expectations,” she added. “She was ‘at home’ in herself, therefore was able to accept everyone with equal regard, all ages, from babies to the elderly were enriched by her caring attitude.

“Friends spoke of her understanding, support and friendship and one called her ‘an irreplaceable light in my life’. “Another spoke of her love, support and practical help in the last six months since the loss of her husband. She was always ready with a word of encouragement and a smile for everyone she met.

“Her family, John, Katherine, Paul, Peter and Freda, are all obviously devastated by the news and she will be greatly missed by all who knew her.”

Yesterday police renewed their appeal for witnesses to the crash. Anyone with information should contact Essex Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 101 or email

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