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Birling, Addington, Ryarsh and Trottiscliffe bid farewell to their vicar Linda Shuker

The parishes of Birling, Addington, Ryarsh and Trottiscliffe (BART) have said goodbye to their vicar, the Rev Linda Shuker.

Mrs Shuker has looked after the BART parishes for the last 10 years, after being ordained four years before that.

The Rev Linda Shuker has retired
The Rev Linda Shuker has retired

She conducted her last service at All Saints Church in Birling on Easter Sunday.

She said: "It's been a very special time. The parishioners have always been so very welcoming.

"They really like to be involved, both in the church and in the community, which is wonderful."

Mrs Shuker, who said she came to preaching "late in life" is retiring with her husband David to Norfolk.

She said: "We've always liked it there."

All Saints Church in Birling
All Saints Church in Birling

There will now be an inter regnum at the churches, while the diocese selects a new minister, but Mrs Shuker is confident that services will continue unaffected, with help from the lay team and from other local clergy stepping in to lend a hand.

She said: "It's always been a mix of worship like that for us, since, obviously with four parishes to look after, I couldn't be everywhere at once."

Her husband is also going to be a loss to worshippers.

He has played the organ regularly at services in two of the churches and occasionally in the two others.

Mrs Shuker said: "Again we have music groups and other organ players in the wings, we're very blessed with musicians in our four parishes."

Mrs Shuker, who currently lives at the Vicarage in Birling Road, Ryarsh, said: "I shall miss it. It's been wonderful to be part of such a vibrant community."

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