St Paul’s Church in Bedford was packed on Sunday to mark the retirement of its vicar Canon John Pedlar.
Leading church figures and civic dignitaries joined worshippers at the town centre church where Canon John delivered the Festival Evensong on October 13.
The Bishop of Bedford and Archdeacon of Bedford joined him at the service together with dignitaries including HM Bedfordshire Lord-Lieutenant Helen Nellis, who was supported by two of her cadets, Cadet Warrant Officer Jonathon Bell and Petty Officer Cadet Abbie Nye.
Bedford and Kempston MP Richard Fuller, Chief Fire Officer Paul Fuller, and many Deputy Lieutenants and past High Sheriffs as well as invited guests were there too.
Canon John was born and bred in Ilfracombe in Devon.
He has spent 43 years in the ministry including spells at Tavistock in Devon, Portsmouth and St Albans Cathedrals, and then vicar of Redbourn in Hertfordshire where he served for 17 years. He took up the role of vicar in Bedford in 1998.
During his time at St Paul’s the church interior has been restored, the organ has been extensively rebuilt and the church choir enjoys a growing reputation.