CHURCHGOERS are bidding a fond farewell to their long-serving rector this weekend.
The Rev Canon Graham Cookson of St Helen’s Parish Church, Tarporley, will hold his last service on Sunday after 24 years.
Mr Cookson, 69, began his ecclesiastical career as curate at Upton-by-Chester, where he met his wife Anne, a district nurse.
They arrived in Tarporley in November 1983 and just over 20 years later he was made canon at Chester Cathedral.
Parishioners speaking as they left his final Wednesday morning communion spoke of sadness at his leaving.
Mr Cookson admitted: ‘It’s a whole new chapter in my life and it’s going to be very different.
‘I’ve a great passion for classical music and retiring will allow me more time to support the Manchester Hallé and BBC Philharmonic.’
Most of all he is looking forward to moving close to one of his two daughters in Handbridge.
But he said the retirement was tinged with sadness as his beloved wife, who supported his ministry throughout, died in 2003.
There will be a celebration of his church life on Sunday.
Following the service all are invited to attend the Done Room where presentations will be made to the rector during lunch.
Friends and worshippers are invited to take along their own finger buffet and a choice of cold beverages suitable for the occasion.
A glass of sparkling wine and slice of cake will be offered to all present.