SAINT MARGARET’S PARISH
Carshalton Beeches Mass Center was established by Father Frederick Rhead in 1934, and served from Holy Rosary, Sutton, where Father Rhead was Parish Priest. A temporary chapel with a corrugated roof was built at the same time and blessed by Bishop William Brown, then auxiliary bishop in Southwark. It remained “temporary” for forty seven years!
In 1947, the Mission was cut off from Sutton and given its first resident priest, Father Charles Ward, who was moved to Saint Elphege’s at Wallington a year later. Soon after the appointment of his successor, Father Albert Tomei, Saint Margaret’s Mission was canonically erected into a parish, with Father Tomei as its first parish priest. He presided over the growth of Saint Margaret’s for twenty five years till
his tragic road accident and death in December 1975.
Canon George Telford, at that time Director of the Diocesan Catechetical Center, (now the Christian Education Center) had resided here with Father Tomei, helping him in the parish at weekends. He looked after the parish until the appointment of Father Cyril Elkington as second parish priest in 1976. Canon Telford became parish priest of Dockhead in south east London, and later of Ham,
where he died in November 1997.
During his eight years at Saint Margaret’s, Father Elkington implemented a renewal of parish life in the light of the Second Vatican Council. Starting an educational programme for adults as well as for children, he helped parishioners to grow, spiritually and pastorally. He established firm ecumenical links with the other local Christian Churches and set up many lay ministries to work
both within the church and outside it.
He always promoted the idea that all parishioners of Saint Margaret’s belong to a Parish Family. It was Father Elkington who saw the need of a permanent church building to replace the now somewhat elderly chapel. Because of planning restrictions from the Borough of Sutton, not to mention a financial ceiling imposed by the diocese, the decision was taken not to have two separate buildings,
but instead to have the present single dual purpose church and hall.
The building was completed and the church officially dedicated and opened on 5th June 1981, by Archbishop Michael Bowen who, at the same time, consecrated the altar, enshrining within it relics of Saint Oliver Plunket, the Irish bishop and martyr. This altar and the tabernacle plinth are of green Lakeland Slate, and were donated by the late Fred and Norah Phillips who subsequently also donated the matching lectern on the occasion of their Diamond Wedding anniversary in 1989.
The enthusiasm and sacrificial giving of parishioners completely cleared the parish's debts before the end of 1987.
Father Elkington subsequently moved on to the parish of Lee and was succeeded by Father Kevin Pelham,who was inducted by Bishop Howard Tripp on 29th March 1985. He had previously worked as curate in the parishes of Roehampton, Rainham (Kent), Sevenoaks and West Croydon. Father Kevin retired to Saint Augustine’s Residential Home in Addlestone, Surrey in 2010 after 25 years as Parish Priest at Saint Margaret’s. Father Kevin was followed by Father Stephen Haylett in August 2010, and from September 2013 Father Barry Angus became St Margaret’s Parish Priest, being then succeeded in 2016 by Father Patrick Udotai.
Father Anthony Uche succeeded him in January 2020.