THE FORMER Vicar of St Andrew's in Headington and Sub-Dean of Christ Church, The Very Reverend Bob Jeffery, has died aged 81.

Reverend Jeffery served the people of Headington and was Rural Dean of Cowley in the 1970s before returning to Oxford in 1996 as Canon of Christ Church.

He published many book and articles, most of which focussed on ecumenism - the principle of promoting unity among the different Christian church traditions.

In his time away from Oxford, he was instrumental in helping to raise £7m for the restoration of Worcester Cathedral and sat on a number of national church councils.

Robert Martin Colquhoun Jeffery was born in Uxbridge on April 30, 1935 to parents Norman, who worked for the Inland Revenue and was a leading figure in the Scout movement, and Gwenyth Jeffery.

The family moved to North Wales shortly after he was born and he went to the local village in Borth-y-Gest near Porthmadog in 1940.

They moved back to London just three years later and Bob went to St Paul's School in West Kensington until the age of 18.

His National Service took him to Germany where he worked as a telephonist at RAF Wunstorf for two years before studying at King's College, London and then St Boniface College in Warminster where he trained for the ministry.

He was ordained as a Deacon at Durham Cathedral in 1959 before serving as a parish priest in Grangetown, Sunderland, and Barnes in Southwark.

After these curacies he dedicated the next seven years of his life to ecumenism with much of reverend Jeffery's published work helping to bring different church traditions closer together.

During this time he was the assistant secretary of the old Church Assembly's Missionary and Ecumencial Council.

He married Ruth Tinling in 1968 and the couple went on to have three sons, Hilary, Graham and Charles, and a daughter, Phillipa.

In 1971 he returned to the parish ministry as the vicar of St Andrew's in Headington.

Over his seven years in the parish he became known for travelling to the church by bicycle, always wearing a cassock which he hoisted above his waist and folded into the basket behind him.

He moved to Tong in Shropshire and was a vicar there before moving to Worcester and playing an instrumental part in the cathedral's restoration.

Ruth died in 1995 and clouded the end of his time at Dean of Worcester Cathedral. He moved back to Oxford in 1996 to take up the post of Canon and Sub-Dean of Christ Church.

He held the role until his retirement in 2002 when he took a great interest in cooking, spending time with this grandchildren, continuing his passion for writing and conjuring.

He died on December 12, 2016 from cancer in Sobell and is survived by his four children and four grandchildren.

His funeral took place at Christ Church Cathedral on Monday, January 16.