Tony Sellwood – tribute

In Memory of

Tony Sellwood

23 . 07 . 1947 – 15 . 01 . 2007


The Chichester Magazine issue mm 2007 – p14

Sad farewell to “amazing servant”

Tributes have been paid to the Bishop’s Adviser for Abuse and Child Protection, Tony Sellwood, who died on January 15th following a road accident on the A272 between Cowfold and Buck Barn.

Tony was well-known and greatly respected within the diocese for his invaluable work in the field of child protection and all it involves at diocesan and parish level.

At West Sussex County Council, Tony was known to many staff in Adult Services and Children and Yong People’s Services having worked for the County since 1970. He initially worked as a residential child care officer, then in mid 1970s he joined the Littlehampton Social Services Office, where he worked as a social worker and then as a Team Manager until 1999. Since 1999 Tony had worked as a Team Manager with the Arun Locality, for the last three years in a part-time capacity.

He was working as a colleague of Janet Hind in these local authority social and caring services when he was asked to serve as child protection adviser for the Diocese in Europe, while Bishop John was in post.

When Mrs Hind stepped down from her diocesan role to become the Church of England’s first national child protection adviser in 2002, Bishop John – now Bishop of Chichester – immediately asked Tony to take on the adviser’s role in the diocese. Tony played an enormous part in introducing and helping parishes to understand the diocesan child protection procedures following publication of the House of Bishops policy document and other national guidelines.

Among other work locally for which Tony will be remembered was as chairman of trustees for the Dalesdown Christian residential centre at Dial Post, the setting up of a counselling service in Littlehampton, and encouraging the provision of social workers in Christian schools. Those who worked with him said he was very much an initiator, who would often be able to see a vision and inspire others to bring it to fruition.

“It is impossible to overstate how much Tony will be missed as an amazing servant of the diocese and as a very good friend to so many of us,” said Bishop John. “His title didn’t begin to cover the aspects of work he did on our behalf, from training to keeping people aware of child protection issues, and from building up people’s confidence in addressing what can so often appear to be complex areas to reassuring those concerned by the implications of the policy.

“He helped us to see that the policy was not just about keeping children safe in churches, but also offered protection to those who work with children.”

Describing Tony as a happy family man, who also served faithfully as a deacon and elder of his local Baptist church, Bishop john added: “He was someone with a great sense of humour and was a pleasure to be around, but he also constantly demonstrated his expertise in child protection work, helping people to see the policy guidelines as important and workable, instead of as unnecessary bureaucracy.”

From the local authority, Nick Longdon, Group Manager, Children’s Support, said: “Tony was a trained social worker and worked for West Sussex Social Sevices from 1970 most of which time has been in the Littlehampton and Bognor areas. He has been responsible for managing a team of social workers working in child protection and with children in care. Tony was very highly regarded both professionally and personally and will be gratly missed by his colleagues.”

Tony [59], who lived in Littlehampton, leaves his wife Felicity and daughters Esther and Katie. While he was interested in so many things – from the Isles of Scilly to music, and playing golf to playing pranks – his fmily was the main love of his life. Said Felicity: “We have benn completely overwhelmed by the number of flowers, cards, and enmails we have received and we are all grateful for every one of them. Messages have come in from all over the world,and we are truly amazed to learn of how far his influence extended.”

A thanksgiving service was held at Tony’s church – Littlehampton Baptist Church – and a largerscale Thanksgiving Service was held at Chichester Cathedral on February 24th

The Right Reverend Geoffrey Rowell, who succeeded Bishop John as Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe said “We offer our love and prayers to Tony’s family as they try to come to terms with their sudden loss. We are grateful for his faithful service and willing advice to so many people in the Diocese in Europe.”


There was a Service of Thanksgiving for the life and work of Tony Sellwood at Chichester Cathedral: 2.30 pm. Saturday 24th February.

This was attended by about 1000 people including Young Wick members from 40 years ago.


The Argus – 8:28am Friday 19th January 2007 – Siobhan Ryan

“Tributes paid to church adviser”

Tributes have been paid to a senior adviser for the Church of England in Sussex who died in a road crash.

Tony Sellwood died when his Ford hatchback was involved in a collision with a Ford MPV on the A272 between Cowfold and Buckbarn.

Mr. Sellwood, 59, was the Bishop of Chichester’s adviser for abuse and child protection. He was well-known and greatly respected within the Chichester diocese for his work in the field of child protection.

Mr. Sellwood, of Southfields Road, Littlehampton, leaves his wife Felicity and daughters Esther and Katie. Mrs. Sellwood said she had been “overwhelmed” by the tributes.

She said: “There have been so many flowers, cards and emails. I’m amazed by how many people’s lives he touched and how far his influence extended.”

Mr. Sellwood was working for social and caring services in West Sussex when he was asked to serve as a child protection adviser for the Diocese in Europe. He was asked by the Right Reverend John Hind to take up his Chichester diocese role in 2002.

Mr. Sellwood played an enormous part in introducing and helping parishes to understand the diocesan child protection procedures following publication of the House of Bishops policy document and other national guidelines.

Mr. Hind said: “It is impossible to overstate how much Tony will be missed as an amazing servant of the diocese and as a very good friend to so many of us.

“He was someone with a great sense of humour and was a pleasure to be around but he also constantly demonstrated his expertise in child protection work, helping people to see the policy guidelines as important and workable, instead of as unnecessary bureaucracy.”

The Bishop’s wife, Janet Hind, had known Mr. Sellwood for more than 25 years. She said: “He will be greatly missed. He was a remarkable person – a really bubbly, lovely funny man.”

Mr Sellwood was brought up as a Roman Catholic, but became a member of the Littlehampton Baptist Church in Fitzalan Road in 1974, where he became a deacon and elder.

The church’s Reverend, Lynda Rowlinson, said: “As a church family, we’re devastated.”

Details of Mr. Sellwood’s funeral are still being arranged. Memorial services at Chichester Cathedral and Littlehampton Baptist Church have been planned.

Witnesses to the accident, which happened shortly after noon on Monday, are asked to contact Sergeant Jon Carter at Haywards Heath traffic department on 0845 6070999.


The Argus – 7:21am Thursday 23rd August 2007 – Sam Underwood

“Death crash driver escapes with fine”

A motorist who killed a father-of-two in a crash has walked out of court with a fine of just £1,000.

Tony Sellwood, a senior adviser for the Church of England, died when his Ford hatchback collided with a Ford MPV between Cowfold and Buckbarn on January 15.

Andrew Robinson had been overtaking a vehicle when he lost control of his Ford and ploughed into that of Mr. Sellwood.

Yesterday Robinson, of Withy Bush, Burgess Hill, pleaded guilty to careless driving at Crawley Magistrates’ Court and was given a fine.

Police said they would have considered charging Robinson with causing death by careless driving if the proposed offence had come into law. And last night road safety campaigners criticised the sentence saying it was insufficient for the crime.

Dianna Ferreira, a spokeswoman for crash reduction charity Brake, said: “The charge of death by careless driving is something Brake has been campaigning for for several years.

“A fine of £1,000 is a paltry punishment and not one which reflects justice for the family. Our hearts and minds are with them.”

More than 20 of Mr. Sellwood’s friends and family were at the court to hear the verdict read out.

The 59-year-old’s widow, Felicity, described him as “a much-loved husband and father” and “a person who devoted his life to helping others in need”.

Prosecutor Simon Drew told the court that shortly after midday on the day of the crash, Robinson, a supply centre manager, was driving home early from work along the A272. Mr Drew said that after overtaking another vehicle near Coolham, Robinson clipped the verge and lost control as he approached a right hand bend near the Maplehurst cross-road, spinning the car and colliding with that of Mr Sellwood.

Mr Sellwood, of Southfields Road, Littlehampton, suffered extensive injuries and had to be cut from his car by the emergency services.

He was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

Speaking after the case, Robinson, who escaped with minor injuries, said: “Obviously my thoughts are with Mr Sellwood’s friends and family and my deepest sympathy goes out to them.”

Sergeant John Carter, of Sussex Police, said a charge of death by careless driving had been created by the Government but had not yet come into force and so could not be used. He added that if it had been available, it may well have been considered in this case.

Sgt Carter said: “This case has shown how even relatively minor errors of judgement can have disastrous consequences.”
The court heard that conditions were fine and bright at the time of the accident and a police investigation concluded that Robinson lost control by over-correcting the skid.

“Mr Sellwood had no realistic opportunity to take avoiding action,” said Mr. Drew. Robinson told police shortly after the crash he was driving home early because he had felt unwell.

He said: “I was not in a hurry but I felt my back end break away as I entered a bend.”

Ben Casey, defending, said Robinson had been devastated by the result of the accident and expressed his sincere condolences to the family and friends of the victim.

“There was no recklessness and excessive speed played no part in the accident. It was purely human error from momentary inattention,” he said.

Magistrate Rosie McMahon said: “Nothing we can say could possibly assuage the grief of Mr. Sellwood’s family. There is no excuse for driving carelessly but we are satisfied it was a lapse of concentration.”

As well as the fine, Robinson was ordered to pay costs of £90 and had his driving licence endorsed with nine penalty points.

Mr Sellwood was the Bishop of Chichester’s adviser for child protection and was well-known and greatly respected for his work at diocesan and parish level.

He took up the role in 2002 while working for social and caring services in West Sussex after he was asked by Bishop John Hind.

He played an enormous part in introducing and helping parishes to understand the diocesan child protection procedures following publication of the House of Bishops policy document and other national guidelines.

The Rt. Rev Hind said: “It is impossible to overstate how much Tony will be missed as an amazing servant of the diocese and as a very good friend to so many of us.

“His title didn’t begin to cover the aspects of work he did on our behalf, from training to keeping people aware of child protection issues.

“He was someone with a great sense of humour and was a pleasure to be around.

“He also constantly demonstrated his expertise in child protection work, helping people to see the policy guidelines as important and workable, instead of as unnecessary bureaucracy.”

The Bishop’s wife, Janet Hind, had known Mr. Sellwood for more than 25 years.

She said: “He will be greatly missed. He was a remarkable person – a really bubbly, lovely funny man.”

Mr. Sellwood was brought up a Roman Catholic but became a member of the Littlehampton Baptist Church in Fitzalan Road in 1974.

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