A Devon couple who have worked a combined 83 years serving others and bringing communities closer together, retired on New Year’s Eve. Major Hazel Slade and Major William Slade ran The Salvation Army’s operations in Newton Abbot for four and a half years, after moving there from Clevedon.
From The Salvation Army hall at 30 Union Street, they organised activities including Sunday services, lunch clubs, a toddlers’ group and a craft club for the local community. They also had a very busy Christmas this year after organising a Christmas day lunch for 25 local people who may otherwise have spent the day alone.
Major William Slade said:
“The thing that’s given Hazel the biggest sense of achievement in her work is the knowledge that in some small way we have been able to make a difference to people’s lives. For me, it has been building bridges between the communities in which we have served and The Salvation Army through chaplaincy.
“And The Salvation Army has left a lasting impression on us – for Hazel it is the feeling that she is part of a family wherever she has been in The Salvation Army world. For me it’s the way The Salvation Army reaches out into so many diverse situations along with people’s faith and trust in the organisation that we are always there in times of crisis. This has meant that we are almost always given a warm welcome wherever we go. It makes me feel humble.”
Commenting on the Slades’ retirement, Major Stephen White, The Salvation Army’s Divisional Commander for Devon and Cornwall said:
“It has been a privilege to serve alongside Hazel and William in their mission to serve the people of Newton Abbot and the South West of England for the last 20 years. With their kind and personable manner, they have been led by their desire to support people in the many different situations we face on life’s journey in the name of Christ. I’d like to wish them a long, happy and prosperous retirement.”
The Slades started their Salvation Army careers in the north east of England, with William based in Alnwick and Hazel at Consett. Their first appointment as a married couple was Whitley Bay before moving to East Ham in 1981 and Guernsey in 1982.
The Slades came to Skewen in South Wales in 1985, before moving to Port Talbot in 1988 and then Merthyr Tydfil in 1990. They moved to Plymouth in 1994 where William also served as the hospital Free Church chaplain to Derriford Hospital.
William and Hazel were appointed to Paignton in 1999 and then to Clevedon in 2004. At Clevedon, William was also chaplain for Logos House - the Salvation Army’s Lifehouse centre for people experiencing homelessness in Bristol.
After nine years in Clevedon, they were appointed to Newton Abbot in 2013.
In their retirement, the Slades are moving to Plympton and looking forward to spending more time with their children and their families, including eight grandchildren. The couple plan to do some travelling and William will continue to volunteer with Devon and Cornwall Police and The Salvation Army.
Captain Nigel Byrne is the new corps officer at The Salvation Army in Newton Abbot and he will be starting in the role on 25 January.