Fr. Damien – A Personal Profile.
Born 19th May 1940 – Rostrevor, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.
Died 7 March 2015 – Northampton
Son of Alfred and Rosella Walne.
At the end of the Second World War moved to England – first of all to Norfolk where the Walne family farmed. Dad being the “black sheep” left farming to enter the Royal Navy in which he fought during the war captaining several vessels.
Dad retired early to be with his family when Victor and Martin were born. The family then moved to Cambridge where dad secured a teaching post. They became members of St. Lawrence’s parish where all three brothers served as altar boys for several years.
Attended St. Andrew’s R. C. Primary School before moving across the road (old site of the Perse School) after the 11+. Victor becoming Head Boy the year the school moved to its present site on Hills Road. Meanwhile his elder brother frittered away his time on sport, representing his school at cricket and hockey.
On leaving school Damien went into the bank, working for Barclays. Three years later he left to join ABC Cinemas…eventually booking the first of the Road Shows (i.e. Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments) around the Eastern Counties from Norwich.
A move then came to Cambridge where he was asked to look after and see to visiting artists who came to the Regal Cinema there for “One Night” stands still popular today in cinemas and theatres across the land.
Missed meeting the Beatles, preferring to watch the Varsity Match at Twickenham – the only time the group, which shortly became very famous, ever appeared in Cambridge.
Sensing the call to the priesthood for some time, but couldn’t believe that that was really what God wanted of him, Damien took the step. He was inspired and encouraged by Fr. Peter Brown (now parish priest in Cromer and Chancellor of the Diocese of East Anglia) a convert to Roman Catholicism, whom he initiated as an altar server. Three years after Peter left to study for the priesthood, Damien joined him at Oscott College where at the age of 30 years he was ordained a priest.
First appointment, St. Augustine’s, High Wycombe, with Canon Griffiths. Second appointment, Our Lady’s Corby with Canon Galvin.
First appointment as parish priest – Christ the King, Bedford (1984-91). Last appointment Great Boilling, Northampton (1991-2015)