The long-serving vicar of Flitwick officially retired this week after 24 years of loyal service.
The Rev Canon Michael Bradley, 70, who came to Flitwick from the Lincoln Diocese with his wife Elizabeth and daughter Harriet in September 1990, is looking forward to his well-earned rest. He officially retired from the Church of St Peter and Paul, with St Andrew, on Tuesday, September 30.
He said: “It’s been a very pleasant experience. I have enjoyed 99.9 per cent of my time at Flitwick. I’ve liked the people and the church here. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to serve.”
“I love doing weddings and baptisms. I’ve conducted about 1,300 baptisms in my time here, nearly 500 weddings including 58 in one year, as well as around 60 funerals per year – lots of comings and goings.
“I remember at one wedding early on in my time, a bride asked to carry her two dogs covered in bows up the aisle with her. I asked her politely to leave them at the door. I would have probably allowed it now!
“I also recall a little boy losing the groom’s wedding ring just before the ceremony. The bride was already quite nervous and I don’t think losing the ring helped her at all. They eventually found the ring in long grass and came back to have it blessed –as the groom had to borrow a friend’s ring for the wedding ceremony.”
During his time in Flitwick, Mr Bradley has been a governor of both Kingsmoor and Redborne schools and a trustee of Flitwick charities.
He also held the position of rural Dean for the Ampthill and Shefford district from 2008 until November 2013.
His last service at Flitwick was Sunday, September 28. He said: “It was quite emotional but it was a very pleasant service.
“Everyone was very kind. They gave me birdwatching equipment, £500 John Lewis vouchers and a basket of chocolate. As I am known to have a sweet tooth I am very much looking forward to sampling the chocolate.”
The Bishop of Bedford, the Rt Rev Richard Atkinson spoke warmly about the vicar of Flitwick at the service which was attended by 150 worshippers.
Mr Bradley said of the changes during his time in Flitwick: “In terms of getting married, and in worship we’ve moved towards a more informal style in the way you would conduct a service.”
He added: “Most of my work has been unremarkable – but it is the stuff of life. I have enjoyed working in the town –it’s been a privilege.”