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Guest Character Profiles > Reverend Sampson Howard Bell

Reverend Sampson 1987-1989
Children: Luke
Occupation: Vicar - St Stephen's Church

Reverend Sampson took over as minister to the residents of Erinsborough in 1987 and during his time in the community, presided over the weddings of many locals, including teenage sweethearts Scott Robinson and Charlene Mitchell and the christening of little Jamie Clarke. A widower, he was father to a son, Luke, and upon arriving for duties at St. Stephen’s Church, the Reverend found himself making firm friends with many of the local churchgoers, particularly Harold Bishop, Eileen Clarke and, most notably, the local busybody Nell Mangel, who was a central fixture in the church. But she was also in awe at Reverend Sampson and relished any opportunity to be around a respected man of the cloth.

Mrs Mangel was delighted when she began working closely with Reverend Sampson on the church fete and proudly boasted that he had put her in charge of publicising the event. She had failed to pick up on the Reverend’s wry sense of humour when he reasoned she would be the best possible candidate to spread the word about the event. She scoffed at her granddaughter Jane, however, when she suggested that she had a thing for him, and when she invited Reverend Sampson over for tea to discuss the fete one afternoon, was adamant that it was strictly business. Around this time, Jane and her friends had just started selling a polish called Liquid Beauty and she had just given her nan’s coffee table and furniture a fresh coating with the cleaner in advance of the Reverend’s visit. Reverend Sampson was highly impressed with the shine Liquid Beauty had produced on the furniture and offered to buy some from Jane for the church pews. However, after finishing his tea and getting up to leave, he noticed his tea cup had gotten stuck to the coffee table and when he went to get his hat and briefcase, he realised they were stuck too. Mrs Mangel was mortified by the embarrassing situation and chastised Jane for putting the Reverend in such an awkward position, but luckily Reverend Sampson saw the humorous side.

Reverend Sampson wasn’t laughing, however, when he began to hear all sorts of rumours about the most respected member of his flock – Harold. It seemed Harold was a bit of a ladies man, according to the word on the street, and Reverend Sampson was forced to take action when the ladies in the church choir, of which Harold was a member, expressed their unease with his reputation. Harold was oblivious to the gossip so when he naively talked to the Reverend about how the ladies’ singing stirred his passions, a horrified Reverend Sampson was faced with no alternative but to ask Harold to step down from his position in the choir. An outraged Harold demanded to know where all these stories about his reputation were coming from – and was shocked when it turned out Madge, his childhood sweetheart and now fiancée, had unwittingly joked to Eileen that Harold was a beast around women, when Eileen and Mrs Mangel read Harold’s tea leaves wrongly and questioned Madge about whether or not the leaves were accurate in describing him as a womaniser. Harold was furious about the entire saga and stormed off in his car, only to have a bad accident that led to him being laid up for a number of weeks with both hands in plaster. Reverend Sampson and the ladies from the church choir, all feeling terrible for jumping to conclusions about him, visited him as he was recuperating and urged him to rejoin the choir once he was back on feet, but a sulky Harold insisted he was leaving Erinsborough after he had healed fully. But he was eventually persuaded to return when Reverend Sampson promised him the chance to be the lead singer in the choir and he also went on to become the Reverend’s right-hand man for readings and sermons and was chuffed when Reverend Sampson asked him to organise a 50s night at the church hall.

When Eileen Clarke made plans to remarry her no-good ex-husband Malcolm, she called upon Reverend Sampson for advice and guidance in the lead-up to the big day. As preparations got underway, Malcolm began to have doubts about entering into marriage with Eileen for a second time and he began to object to various things along the way, including Eileen’s insistence on using their own specially composed vows for the service. Although Eileen told him she wouldn’t use her own vows, behind his back she asked Reverend Sampson to have a look at what she had composed and when he came to meet the couple on the eve of the service, he told Eileen he felt they were a little ornate and she should consider revising them. Malcolm flew into a rage when he realised she had gone behind his back with the vows and told Reverend Sampson he was through with Eileen – promptly jilting her at the altar the following day.

After Harold went on to resume his engagement to Madge, Reverend Sampson helped them plan their service. But all three were perplexed when Mrs Mangel insisted on playing the Wedding March at the wedding on the church organ. Reverend Sampson was horrified when she practised in front of him and displayed little talent or tuning, and when she asked his opinion of her talents, she was less than impressed when he could only suggest she was a little rusty. Undeterred, she pressed on with her plans to play at the wedding and when Reverend Sampson told Madge and Harold about how bad she was, Madge – who had a long-standing feud with Nell - insisted that she was being deliberately woeful in order to sabotage the wedding. When the big day arrived, Mrs Mangel, as expected, hit a few bum notes as Madge walked up the aisle, but the occasion was such a joyous one that everyone turned a blind eye and Reverend Sampson proudly pronounced the couple man and wife.

The next Ramsay Street wedding Reverend Sampson presided over was to be a particularly special one. Although Mrs Mangel often drove him up the walls, constantly interfering in church committees and activities, the Reverend had a high regard for her and when it looked like she would have to sell up and leave Erinsborough in order to fund her divorce from her philandering husband Len, he showed deep concern that the church would lose one of it’s most active members. But luckily, Mrs Mangel hadn’t needed to move after all and had managed to ‘persuade’ Len to drop his financial demands in their divorce settlement. When Nell asked Reverend Sampson to put in a good word for her with the committee of the local bowls club, little did he realise that her membership would lead to new found love for her. It was in the bowls club that Mrs Mangel met and fell in love with a retired dentist called John Worthington, who quickly proposed to her after a few bumpy starts to their romance. Mrs Mangel happily accepted and Reverend Sampson was delighted to marry the pair before they left Erinsborough for a new life in England, near John’s daughter.

A few months after the departure of his dear friend, Reverend Sampson left Erinsborough himself for a new posting and was replaced by Reverend Richards, who knew he had big shoes to fill as minister in the close knit community.

Biography by Moe