A FORMER minister, whose influence was felt in Summertown and Blackbird Leys, has died aged 100.

Geoffrey Beck spent a decade-and-a-half as a Congregational minister in Summertown and worked with The Right Reverend Dr David Jenkins to pioneer a church for workers at the Cowley car plant.

He was also a talented cricketer, representing Oxford University and Oxfordshire in the 1940s and 50s.

Geoffrey Beck was born on June 16, 1918, in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, son of Edward Beck and Lilian Beck (neé Wonfor).

After winning a scholarship to Whitgift School in Croydon, he studied theology at Mansfield College, Oxford, from 1942 to 1946, studying for much of his degree under the shadow of the Second World War.

In his younger years, Mr Beck was also known for his cricket and represented Oxford University as a middle-order batsman.

He played in the one-day university matches between Oxford and Cambridge in 1943 and 1945, top-scoring in the former.

After completing his degree, Mr Beck began his career in 1946 as a Congregational minister, serving for four years in Eccleston, St Helens.

This was also a significant year personally, as Mr Beck married Joy Crookshank, a Cambridge graduate from Ditchling, Sussex, who was a fellow member of the Student Christian Movement.

When first-class cricket resumed after the Second World War, Mr Beck played three matches for Oxford, notching a highest score of 50 against Surrey in his first match.

He later played two matches for Oxfordshire in the Minor Counties Championship in 1951.

Starting in 1950, Mr Beck spent 15 years as Congregational Minister in Summertown, where he lived and fostered a friendly environment.

Churchgoers still remember his capacity for friendship, along with his wife Joy and their four children Rachel, Stephen, Hilary and Elizabeth who helped to welcome others into the church.

Notably, Mr Beck worked with David Jenkins, then chaplain at Queens College and later Bishop of Durham, to pioneer a multi-church partnership in Blackbird Leys for the 25,000 workers at the Morris Motors car plant in Cowley.

In 1965, Mr Beck became the first Warden of the Chapel of Unity attached to the new Coventry Cathedral. Two years later, he was at the centre of an historic moment, when the apostolic delegate, the Pope’s official representative, was received in an Anglican Cathedral for the first time since the Reformation.

In his final years, Mr Beck co-founded the Adam von Trott Memorial Appeal Project, in honour of the German lawyer - a former Oxford student - who was involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler in 1944.

The scheme provides scholarships to German students studying at Mansfield College.

In 2014, the German government awarded Mr Beck the Cross of the Order of Merit in honour of his work.

Mr Beck’s wife died in 2000. In his retirement he lived in East Sussex and died on March 5.

A thanksgiving service was held in Eastbourne on March 19.