A PARISH has bid a fond farewell to its long-serving vicar.
A large congregation gathered at St Eurgain and St Peter’s Church, Northop, for the final service of the Rev Raymond Billingsley after-nine-and-a-half years in the post.
Mr Billingsley became vicar of Northop in 2004. The parish serves the villages of Northop, Sychdyn, Northop Hall and parts of New Brighton and Alltami.
Previously, Mr Billingsley held the position of vicar of Brymbo from 1996 and similar roles before in Birmingham after becoming a priest in 1990.
Mr Billingsley said that he had fully enjoyed his time in the parish of Northop.
He said: “It’s been a very rewarding nine-and-a-half-years. People have been very kind to us and we’ve done a lot of rewarding work in that time.
“I’ll be semi-retiring as I’ll be stepping in for absences and taking the odd service.
As clergy we never really give up but I shall be moving away from the parish entirely.
“I’ve very much enjoyed the role, it’s been the most rewarding period of my ministry in Wales over the last 16 years.”
Mr Billingsley said his final service had been quite moving.
“It was a very emotional service and I think we were all reluctant to say cheerio to one another.
“I tried to build the church into a family church. When people leave it’s sad on one hand but joyful on the other, as now I’ll have the time to develop other interests.”
Susan Williams attended Mr Billingsley’s final service and said the morning had been moving.
She said: “It was quite a moving service, he spoke of his time at the church and how he’d miss everyone.
“He also said how the congregation had become like a big family, I definitely saw tears in people’s eyes.
“The Reverend is a very nice man, the church was packed on the day and that’s a testament to the esteem people hold him in.
“He will be missed.”