Fond farewell to Father Des

Father Des McGivern with one of his leaving presents.
Father Des McGivern with one of his leaving presents.

TRIBUTES have been paid to a long-standing parish priest, who has left his role in Alnwick after more than a decade of service.

Parishioners and friends from the town’s St Paul’s RC Church, met at the Costello Centre on Friday, to bid a fond farewell to Father Des McGivern, who was at the helm for 11 years.

He has now headed for pastures new, taking on the role of parish priest at Seahouses and Holy Island.

St Paul’s parish council chairman James Bateman presented Father Des with a cheque, laptop computer, golf putter and a picture of Holy Island.

Yesterday, Mr Bateman, said: “I never heard a bad word about him.

“He put a lot of effort in to maintaining the church and it is in such good condition.

“His leadership was outstanding, both in the fabric of the church and in the spiritual leadership he gave.

“His time in Alnwick has been so totally positive within the parish and in Alnwick in general, especially his involvement with the young people and encouraging the young people to participate and be part of the church.”

Father Des has also been praised for his involvement in the amalgamation of the town’s St John’s RC First School and Thomas Percy RC Middle School onto one site on South Road, to form St Paul’s RCVA First and Middle schools.

Maria Wilson, headteacher for St Paul’s First and Middle schools, said: “He worked tirelessly to make sure the programme for the new school went smoothly.

“He was involved in the preparation and celebration of it.”

She added: “We were very lucky to have Father Des as a pastoral leader for both St Paul’s First and St Paul’s Middle.

“He worked with the pupils and families over many years, supported the spiritual development, and will be greatly missed.”

On Sunday, parishioners, children, families and staff came together at a special mass to celebrate the work he has done in the community.

Looking back over his years in Alnwick, Father Des said: “I had a wonderful time in Alnwick. Alnwick was good to me.”

Father Philip Carroll is the new parish priest.

He has come from the Venerable English College in Rome.