TWO HUNDRED family, friends and worshippers gathered at All Saints Church, Winterslow for the funeral of a hugely popular former rector, who went on to become an archdeacon.

Despite the fact The Venerable Canon Clive Cohen's burgeoning career later took him to Cornwall for two decades, his ardent wish was to be buried in the Wiltshire village where he and his family had been so happy.

The service was taken by one of the team priests the Revd Cynthia Buttimer, a close friend who spoke of the loving support Clive and his wife, June, had personally given her at significant low points in her life.

While Winterslow's rector between 1985 and 2000, Clive inspired and galvanised the community.

He initiated a new village hall, founded a network of youth workers and hauled the church finances out of debt and onto a secure footing.

Clive's meticulously-prepared sermons, delivered in a hallmark deep, honeyed voice from a lofty 6ft 5in above the pulpit floor, were easily accessible and punchy - he believed that what you couldn't say in six minutes wasn't worth saying.

"He had a theological approach to his preaching, which had a practical, feet on the ground, ethos, giving out a clear message to the congregation," said Revd Buttimer.

Clive Ronald Franklin Cohen was born on January 30, 1946 in London and attended Tonbridge School.

He met June Kefford when he was aged 19, while a junior assistant master at Edinburgh House preparatory school, New Milton where her father was the head.

The teenagers realised almost immediately that theirs would be a life-long devotion and married in April 1969.

With providing for a young family in mind, Clive joined the Midland Bank, where he worked for a decade, rising to office manager of the Streatham branch.

Behind a slight professional reserve lay a man who felt deeply and loved his family fiercely.

When the couple’s third child, Aidan, died within a month of his birth in November 1977, the resultant heartbreak led Clive to act on a long-held nagging urge to enter the priesthood.

He began his training at Salisbury and Wells Theological College in the autumn of 1979, was ordained in Guildford Cathedral two years later and then served his curacy in Esher, Surrey.

On leaving Winterslow, Clive became Archdeacon of Bodmin, transforming the health of the Diocese of Truro's finances in addition to caring for his parishes.

The couple moved to Teignmouth when Clive tried to retire in May 2011, only for him to serve two terms as a Chapter Canon of Exeter Cathedral and take on the role of acting Archdeacon of Totnes for a year.

Clive collected Royal commemorative china all this life, wrote for leading historical journals, opened a bottle of vintage port to mark every significant family milestone and was an impassioned Bath Rugby supporter.

While a committed Christian and Anglican priest, he was intensely proud of his Jewish roots.

Clive’s final priestly act was to baptise his youngest grandchild Rudy on his hospital bed on Mothering Sunday.

He died on April 8, a mere four days short of what would have been his and June’s golden wedding anniversary.

She survives him, along with their children Katherine, Alexander, William and Edward, and seven grandchildren.

With habitual precision, Clive told his wife of his enduring love for her one last time at his funeral, with World War Two spy Violette Szabo’s code poem “The Life That I Have” recited at his Winterslow graveside, close to the home where the family had lived so contentedly.