SIBU – Catholics in the central region of Sarawak are mourning the loss of one of their longest-serving priests, Father David Bingham, who passed away peacefully on 27 Jan 2018 in England. He was 86.
News of his passing was conveyed by Mill Hill Missionaries to the Catholic Church here.
The late Fr Bingham had served as priest in the region for over 40 years.
A parishioner, Clement Chieng, gave thanks for Fr Bingham’s work in Sarawak.
Augustine Siaw said the late Fr Bingham had been an outstanding missionary for many years in the Sibu Diocese.
According to a statement from Mill Hill Missionaries, Fr David Bingham was born in Nakuru, Kenya, on 7 April 1931 to Francis Dennis and Mary Bingham.
Fr David’s father served as an engineer in the Royal Navy and the family settled in Kenya where they took up farming.
Fr David received his secondary education with the Benedictines at Ampleforth from 1944 to 1949.
After performing compulsory military service, he studied in Cambridge University where he obtained a BA in History in 1956.
He then got a job with a shipping line in Singapore where he first made contact with people from Malaysia.
In his memoirs, Fr David wrote that through his contacts with the Church in Singapore, his Catholic faith had been strengthened and the first stirrings of a vocation to the priesthood made themselves felt.
Eventually, he applied for admittance to the formation programme of the Mill Hill Missionaries.
After a bridge-year in Osterley, he entered the Mill Hill formation programme in Roosendaal for studies in Philosophy.
In 1961, he entered St Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, to study Theology.
On 1 May 1964, he took the Perpetual Oath and the following year, on July 10, he was ordained a priest in Westminster Cathedral.
He received an appointment to Malaysia, where he taught for two years in Sarikei followed by two years of mission work in Kanowit.
He was transferred to Simangang in 1971 and served there for some five years.
Subsequently, Fr David worked in the missions of Bintangor, Julau, Sibu, and Song.
Altogether, Fr David spent 46 years working in Sarawak.
He learnt the Iban language, reportedly with a pronounced English accent, as well as a little Hokkien.
In May 2005, Fr David started working in the British region and in October 2014, he took up residence in the Mill Hill Missionaries retirement home in Freshfield. Liverpool.
On the occasion of his golden jubilee as a priest in 2015, it was noted that Fr Bingham had “great energy, an enquiring mind and a good sense of humour. “
In July 2001, he was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his mission work.- thestar.com.my