Frank Carless was born in Sheffield on 16 January 1922. He went to a church day-school and had a Christian upbringing. At the age of 18, Frank felt a calling to the ordained ministry. Unfortunately, the Second World War intervened and Frank joined the RAF in 1941 and saw service in Burma. He was not discharged until 1946.
His calling to the ordained ministry continued and he began training in 1953 at St. Aidan’s College in Birkenhead. In 1956 he took an external London Bachelor of Divinity degree. He was ordained Deacon on September 23 1956 in Wakefield Cathedral and a year later he was ordained Priest in Thornhill Parish Church.
Frank served a three year curacy from 1956 to 1959 at Normanton Parish Church. Then on 30 October 1959 he became vicar of St. Stephen’s Rashcliffe in Huddersfield. He worked here until November 1964 when he became the vicar of St. John’s Warley, Halifax. He was Rural Dean of Halifax from 1983 to 1986. In 1986 he was given the distinction of being made an honorary Canon of Wakefield.
At the age of 65 on 16 January 1987, Frank retired from the full time stipendiary ministry and moved to Savile Park Road in Halifax. He later to move to the Alms Houses on Arden Road and then to Trinity Fold.
He never ceased to work in the Halifax Deanery and was a well loved and respected by many.
In 1958 he married his dear wife Elaine at St. Matthew’s Chapel in Allerton. Christopher and Elizabeth came along to complete the family whilst in Rashcliffe. Sadly, Elaine passed away on 12 May 2008. She was indeed a wonderful support and companion to Frank.
Frank started writing the weekly letter in the Halifax Courier in December 1986 and wrote his letter every week up to 2012. These letters have been a tremendous help to many over the years.
Since his ordination in 1956, Frank spent his entire ministry in the Halifax Archdeaconry and 47 of these years in Halifax itself. He then continued to work and worship at Halifax Minster and latterly at Holy Trinity and St. Jude’s. Frank’s ministry has touched many lives. When you think solely of the number of baptisms, weddings and funerals he has taken there must be hundreds. He is much regarded in Halifax having helped and encouraged so many.
Frank was chairman of the Halifax Deaf Association. He was a New Testament group leader with the Halifax Third Age Group as well as treasurer of the Halifax branch of the Bible Society. Frank created a huge amount of interest when he spoke to social groups such as Probus, Rotary, Town Women’s Guild and the Mother’s Union. In fact, he was one of a few men to be members of the Mother’s Union. He has delighted audiences over the years by the way in which he made his chosen subject come alive. He also wrote a book about Bishop Walsham Howe, the first bishop of Wakefield. He truly had a gift of communication.
Frank has always been a tremendous servant of the Halifax churches both in leading worship but also in the way he has guided and encouraged many. He always started his letters with the words ‘My dear friends’. This was such a welcoming introduction. Frank was one of the best adverts of what being a Christian means. You were able to see in his life the working out of his faith. He was a truly wonderful Christian gentleman.
Frank’s funeral will be held at Holy Trinity and St. Jude’s Church at 11.15am on Monday 7 August.