THE Bishop of St Asaph has paid tribute to Sir William Gladstone, whose funeral takes place at St Deiniol's Church, Hawarden, on Friday (April 13).

Sir William, who was the great grandson of the 19th century Prime Minister and founder of Gladstone’s Library, William Ewart Gladstone, served as chair of the Representative Body of the Church in Wales from 1977 to 1992. He was also a former Chief Scout and Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd.

The Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, who will attend the funeral and give the blessing at the graveside, said: “I only got to know Sir William in the last decades of his life but he was a man always dedicated to the service and improvement of others. His gentle charm and quiet humour meant that he was held in both great affection and respect.”

The funeral service, which takes place at 2.30pm, will be led by the Rector of Hawarden, Revd Andrea Jones. She said: “This is not a private family funeral. Sir William wanted all the church family and the community to be able to attend, if they wish. The Warden of Gladstone’s Library, Peter Francis and the Venerable Bill Prichard will lead the prayers during the service. Revd Andrew Wickens from Newton Heath in the Diocese of Manchester will be singing pieces from the Messiah.”

The Archbishop of Wales, the Rt Revd John Davies, who will also attend the funeral, paid tribute last week, saying: “William Gladstone’s distinguished service to the Church in Wales, not least as the Chairman of its Representative Body (RB), was much appreciated, and I consider it a privilege, on behalf of the Church in Wales, to be able to express our thanks. I was a member of the Governing Body both as a layman and after ordination during his tenure of office, and was able to admire both his reassuring delivery and kindly presence as he steered us through the finer points and, sometimes, almost impenetrable, details of the RB’s finances. He both spoke and conducted himself with effortless courtesy and much good humour, qualities which he sought to impress upon others. His public service to organisations beyond the Church in Wales, not least the Scout Movement, was widely admired. The Church in Wales gives grateful thanks for a thoroughly dependable and generous servant.”

Police are requesting that people are respectful of traffic delays during the funeral of Sir William and have warned that delays are possible in the Hawarden area.

Sgt Mavis Evans, North Wales Police South Flintshire, said partial road closures will take place before and after the funeral of Sir William Gladstone, who will be buried at St Deiniol's Church, Hawarden, at 2.30pm on Friday.

Sgt Evans said: "Procedures are in place to control traffic on this sad day. We are urging residents to be respectful of the service, which will likely have an impact on Hawarden.

"It is a small village, and therefore traffic delays are likely. If possible, please use an alternative route on Friday."

NWP have also issued letters to Airbus workers who travel through Hawarden to get to work. Sgt Evans said that Sir Gladstone's service is around the same time the Airbus shift rotates, and has urged staff at the aircraft wing-making facility to please avoid the area for that day.