The work of a retired Anglican vicar in Spalding and Weston has been praised by school and church leaders.
Warm tributes have been paid to the Rev Mike Chesher (64) who led St Paul’s Church, Fulney, for four and a half years before his retirement last Monday.
Mr Chesher, also Vicar of St Mary’s Church, Weston, set up a drama group, children’s choir, family fun days and “Messy Church” events, as well as overseeing improvements to both churches.
In a statement, Mr Chesher said: “It has been a privilege to have ministered in both churches and I appreciate greatly the support and friendship I have received since I have been here.”
Nick Newitt, head teacher of Weston St Mary Primary School where Mr Chesher was a governor, said: “He has made a significant contribution to the school and the local community.
“Mike’s patience and wisdom will be sorely missed following his retirement but we sincerely wish him well.”
The Rev Mike Chesher has been a huge part of the school for a number of years through his work as a Governor, Drama Club Leader, Choir Leader, Reading Buddy and also through his work at the church.Kira Nicholls, head teacher, St Paul’s Community Primary School, Spalding
Mr Chesher also supported St Paul’s Primary School, Spalding, whose head teacher Kira Nicholls said: “He has been a huge part of the school for a number of years through his work as a governor, drama club and choir leader, Reading Buddy and also through his work at the church.
“The school regularly uses the church for celebrations and festivals within the Christian calendar and Mr Chesher always added the personal and warm touch for the children and their families.
“He was always approachable and happy to lend a hand or ear for anyone linked with the school and its community.
“But Mr Chesher has also been a source of real strength and reassurance during the most recent tragic events that the school has experienced - something that I will never forget and am very grateful for.
“The school community will miss him greatly, as will I, and on behalf of the children, parents, teachers and governors at St Paul’s Community Primary School, I would just like to say ‘Thank you, Rev Mike! You are one in a million!”
The last two years of Mr Chesher’s ministry saw him offer help and support to the community after a number of tragedies, including the deaths of Warren Free in August 2014 and, this year, Rebekah Dolby, Liz Edwards and her daughter Katie.
Mr Chesher said: “So much has happened at St Paul’s in the last four years, leaving many mixed memories.
“There have been the tragedies of the inconceivable murder of two much-loved church members (Liz and Katie Edwards), as well as the tragic death of a beloved mum (Rebekah Dolby) of two young girls in our choir, besides two other virtually unprecedented incidents (Warren Free and the Hart family shootings).
“On the other hand, there has remained through all of this a very faithful congregation that has stayed together and given me immense support.”
The Rev John Bennett, Vicar of Spalding, said: “Mike was a valued colleague who worked really hard and the impact of his life and ministry will, I am sure, be felt by many people in the years to come.”
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