Former city church leader dies at age of 97

Pastor Archie Biddle preaching in Trafalgar Square
Pastor Archie Biddle preaching in Trafalgar Square
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A PASTOR who was for many years one of Portsmouth’s leading churchmen has died at the age of 97.

Archie Biddle arrived in the city in October 1959 to minister at the Elim Pentecostal Church in Arundel Street.

During his 18 years at Elim, the church - a former cinema now called Oasis - was completely renovated and extended as the congregation swelled from 50 to 500.

Pastor Biddle was made the President of the Elim movement in 1971, was a member of the Executive council, preached twice to a packed Royal Albert Hall, and also conducted services in the Trafalgar Square.

During his time in Portsmouth the church was very forward thinking having its own band, music concerts, motor cavalcades, events on Portsdown Hill, football teams and a coffee bar.

He was born in Plymouth so felt really at home in Portsmouth with its naval tradition and seaside. He loved visiting Sally Port, swimming in the sea and visiting HMS Victory. Sailors from all over the world came to the church during their shore leave.

The funeral service will be held at Paignton cemetery in Devon at 11.30am on Wednesday October 9 followed by a celebration of Pastor Biddle’s life at 2pm at the Living Waters Church in Torquay Road, Paignton.

For further information on the services call 01803 552538.