Published: 06:00, 07 August 2021
Sheppey's celebrity cleric Cindy Kent has quit her home on the Island to become a grandma.
The retired priest, who was lead singer in 60s folk-pop group The Settlers, has bought a house in north London to be near her son James and his wife when they become parents for the first time.
The move has come as a shock to many Islanders who were convinced Cindy, 76, was set to stay on Sheppey. She only discovered the Island five years ago but immediately made it her home and became an instant stalwart of the community.
Despite being retired, she was quickly lending a hand chairing the Sheppey Community Development Forum, presenting a weekly religious spot on community radio station Sheppey FM, taking services in all of the Island's five Anglican churches and even broadcasting from her front room during the last coronavirus lockdown.
She also broke with tradition by becoming the first woman to celebrate mass at Harty church.
As she packed away her treasured belongings at her home in Southsea Avenue on the cliff edge at Minster on Friday she said: "It's been great. The five years have flown by. I've made some fabulous friends and have set up a few things I hope will continue when I've gone.
"I'm certainly going to miss my lovely sea view but that's going to be replaced by a little granddaughter who is going to be my pride and joy. I'm going to spoil her rotten. I hope she likes pink like me."
She added: "I will take away some lovely memories and will miss the wonderful community feel of the Island."
She is returning to Barnet near her former church St John the Apostle in Whetstone and is hoping to take services there. "It's a bit like going home," she admitted.
Cindy, who was awarded the MBE for services to religious broadcasting in 2016, had not even heard of Sheppey until she moved here. She recalled: "I was looking for somewhere to live in Barnet but couldn't afford it so I went back to the vicarage, cried and prayed to God to help find me somewhere.
"I typed 'house with a sea view' into my computer and when it asked where, I put in my name, Kent. The first which came up was this bungalow on the Isle of Sheppey. I honestly thought it was in Scotland!"
She added: "I fell in love with the place as soon as I saw it and thought I'd be here until I died. But God had other plans. A verse from Ecclesiastes says 'To everything there is a season'. I think my season has been here."
Her one main regret is that Sheppey still doesn't have a brown tourist sign on the M2. "I really hoped we could have got that done before I moved," she said.
For those who weren't able to say their final farewells, she is hoping to return for a festive show at the Criterion Theatre, Blue Town, at the end of the year.