The Rev Victor Dickinson, who has been the Anglican Minister for Ancroft, Ford and Etal and Lowick, retired at the end of January. He has been the vicar of the three parishes for 21 years. His grateful parishioners held a celebration dinner for him on his final Sunday in the Village Hall at Lowick, with 100 guests from all the parishes, to say farewell.
John Daniels, church warden for Lowick, said “For many his community and church work came to fruition in the Souper Saturdays held throughout the winter months, which were a focal point for many people, with the church going out into the community.”
Andrew Joicey, on behalf of Ford and Etal, thanked Victor for his role of school governor and visiting school chaplain at Ford C of E First School.
Victor has reached the statutory retirement age of 70 in the Church of England. He will be missed by members of the parishes he served and will be remembered for his humour and his fine singing voice, both in church and on stage.
He was busy in many local causes and events, served as a school governor, and made countless contributions to community life by hosting quizzes and taking part in Heritage Group Docudramas and village pantomimes, where he willingly took on the role of principle dame.
The Rev Dickinson said: “It’s been a great joy and a great privilege to be with you for these 21 years. You can’t do anything in the community unless you’re around for a long time. You need a fair length of time to get to know what’s going on, and get to be known and get to be trusted, and all the other things that go with being a parish priest in the Church of England, and that’s what I have always been.
“I was curate in South Wales, and moved on to be the assistant chaplain at the University of Cardiff. I then moved to Wallsend for seven years, followed by Kenton, where I was for 11.
“It’s been a wonderful time here, and I can promise you that when the church makes up its mind what to do in the future, there will still be parish priests for Ancroft, Ford and Etal and Lowick, though the three churches may not be still together as they have been for 30 years.”
The period until the new vicar has been appointed has been arranged as follows. Services in all three parishes will continue with cover provided by a local team, including Archdeacon Robinson, Rev Rob Kelsey, Rev Alan Hughes, Rev John Vilaseca, Rev Linda Gardner and Rev Gilham. Arrangements for the Lowick services for the next two months have been posted on village noticeboards and in Lowick Village Stores.
Victor and his wife Judith hope to settle in Southern Scotland when they finally leave Lowick.