Former parish priest passes away

editorial image

The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, today paid tribute to one of his priests who died in hospital after being taken ill suddenly.

Canon Martin Onions, vicar of Holy Cross Uckfield and Rural Dean of Uckfield Deanery, was admitted to hospital last night (Thursday May 21) and died this morning.

Martin Onions SUS-150522-143645001

Martin Onions SUS-150522-143645001

Dr Warner said, “It is with profound sadness that we have announced Martin’s death today. In the shock of this news our immediate thoughts and prayers are with Martin’s wife Gill, their family, and the parish and people of Uckfield.

“After ordination in 1988 Martin served all his ordained ministry in the Diocese of Chichester. He is a well-known and much loved figure in the Diocese. We give thanks for the vitality of his life and Christian witness, commending him to the God he served so faithfully.

“Martin, may you rest in peace and rise and in glory.”

A book for recording thanks and remembrance of Martin’s life and ministry is open in the parish church of Holy Cross, Uckfield. The church will be open for anyone who wishes to inscribe the book and pray for Martin and his family and all who mourn his death.

Details of Martin’s funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.

Father Martin was currently the rector of Uckfield but served at churches in Eastbourne and Willingdon and was made a Canon in 2012.

Born in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, he said religion became a major part of his life as a teenager.

He said, “At the age of 17 I had a particular experience of God’s grace which inspired me to explore what God was asking of me. At the same time a member of our congregation spoke to me about ordination. At the end of my apprenticeship I moved down to Sussex, working in the parish of St Dunstan’s, Mayfield, and earning some money as a house parent at Chailey Heritage. This is when I met Gill, my wife.”

The couple married at St Dunstan’s in 1987 when he went through the church’s selection process and was accepted, training at Chichester before being ordained deacon in 1988 and serving at Eastbourne Parish Church.

He was ordained priest the following year and completed his theology MA in 2002.

Father Martins served at Findon, Eastbourne and Willingdon, as a Bishop’s Adviser for Minister from 2009 and was made a Canon of Chichester Cathedral and Prebend of Sidlesham in 2012.

Father Martin has four sons and two granddaughters.

His induction into the Uckfield church was in June, 2013.

Friends have expressed their shock and sadness at his death.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make our website your homepage at

2 Like our Facebook page at Eastbourne-Herald-and-Gazette

3 Follow us on Twitter @Eastbournenews

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Eastbourne Herald - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.