'We'll miss it' - Rector leaves town's church after six years

Outgoing Rector of Fakenham Parish Church, Rev Francis Mason, and wife

Outgoing Rector of Fakenham Parish Church, Rev Francis Mason, and wife Gill at his leaving celebration at the church on July 25. - Credit: Audrey Sharp

From grand Christian tributes to everyday moments of kindness - the past six years have held many highlights for Rector Francis Mason.

But now the leader of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Fakenham's Parish Church, is leaving for pastures new.

Rev Mason, 65, is retiring and he and wife Gill are relocating to Caythorpe in Lincolnshire, the county he is originally from. 

He said he would always treasure the times he has had in Fakenham since moving there in 2015.

Rev Mason said: "The first thing I noticed was how friendly people were - we used to joke about how long it would take to pop to the shops because everyone would stop to chat. 

"It's a busy parish and we will miss it. We'd love to stick around but property prices have risen so much in north Norfolk in the time we've been here. But we will be coming back for holidays because we love the coast and Norfolk as a whole."

Over 50 Christmas trees will be decorated at Fakenham Parish Church this festive season to raise moe

Dressing up Fakenham Parish Church for its annual Christmas Tree Festival. - Credit: Archant

Rev Mason said highlights of his time at the church have included the town's famous Christmas Tree Festival, Christmas, carol services and regular communions and drop-in refreshment sessions on market day Thursdays.

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He said: "The Christmas Tree Festival drew a lot of people who wouldn't normally come into the church, and they would also write a prayer for somebody and hang it on a tree - things like 'dear grandma, I hope you're OK'. They're simple prayers but very touching, and that's a really wonderful aspect.

"We would often have a couple of hundred people come along to Thursday refreshments. They would meet their friends, have a coffee and I would circulate and get to know them all. That's the sort of thing I was hoping for, being in a market town."

Rev Mason said another important achievement was having the church's lighting system replaced.  

Christ Church in Fulmodeston. Picture: Ian Burt

Rector Francis Mason has also been the Rev of Christ Church in Fulmodeston. - Credit: Ian Burt

Rev Mason's final service and leaving celebration took place on July 25. He has also been Rector at Christ Church in Fulmodeston, and his final service there will be on Sunday, August 1 at 11am. 

"People are very welcome to come along," he said. 

A new Fakenham rector has not yet been appointed.