Leslie Raymond Wilkie, went to be with the Lord on 6 June 2018, after a short period of illness from cancer. He died peacefully at home, with his immediate family around him, who sang some of his favourite hymns as he was taken into his greater home.
Ray, as he was called, was born in Bradford, in West Yorkshire, on 1 October 1930. He attended Sunbridge Road Mission with his parents and was a committed member of the Boys’ Brigade, swinging the mace in the Bradford battalion band. He was later apprenticed at English Electric and qualified as a draughtsman.
In 1954, after completing two years of national service, the Lord solidly converted him and he immediately felt called to full-time Christian ministry. He married Barbara, who was studying at the Faith Mission Bible College in Edinburgh.
Together they went south, so Ray could study at London Bible College (LBC) under its principal Ernest Kevan. After graduating from LBC, he became pastor of Hayes Town Chapel in Middlesex. It was at this time that he met Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
Attending the ministers fraternal led by the Doctor at Westminster Chapel, Ray was profoundly influenced by his teaching. The fruit of this was evident as the Lord increasingly blessed his ministry, based on a solid theological foundation. A number were converted and that Reformed legacy carries on there today.
Ray and Barbara had four children while at Hayes. However, in 1966, after protracted illness that ended in surgery on his spine, Ray returned to Bradford with his family. This led to his starting a church that met in the family home.
As the group grew, they purchased a building in Idle, where he served for a few years as the pastor. Ray developed close links with many of the small congregations across Yorkshire that were established in the 1970s. His exceptional gift as a preacher was deeply appreciated by those who sat under his ministry.
After retiring he struggled with chronic fatigue, which plagued him for the last 20 years of his life. He remained deeply committed to Christ Church in Idle, bringing a maturity and depth of spirituality through his counsel and public praying.
Ray was a good and faithful servant, and although the loss is great we rejoice that he is now with his Lord. A large gathering of family and friends attended a thanksgiving service led by Pastor Tim Mills, where Christ was honoured for Ray’s wonderful life.