New padre for old shipmates

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Old shipmates from The Royal Naval Association in Spalding have welcomed their first new padre for nearly 40 years.

Church Army captain Paul Whiteley is stepping into the shoes of the Rev John Moon, who is finally bowing out.

Spalding Royal Naval Association president Terry Carter said: “He retired from the church some time ago and we mounted a bosun’s call – it’s a Naval whistle – we thought he was retiring from us, but he didn’t.

“This time we gave him a framed certificate.”

He said the padre is a key role.

“Normally, if we have any problems we can talk to them,” said Mr Carter. “They are there to look after our religious welfare.”

The dining out of the old and dining in of the new padres was held at The Royal Mailcart, Spalding, when shipmate Geoff Buck was given the association’s highest honour – the lifetime membership award.

Association secretary Terry Day said Geoff Buck joined in May 1989, becoming treasurer in 1992 – a role he still carries out as well as working at area association level as auditor.