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Popular verger retires from Norfolk church, aged 80

PUBLISHED: 16:02 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:19 11 January 2019

David Webster’, in centre, with his team of church cleaners, affectionately called ‘The Holy Dusters’. Pictures: supplied by Evelyn Speed

David Webster', in centre, with his team of church cleaners, affectionately called 'The Holy Dusters'. Pictures: supplied by Evelyn Speed

Archant

A popular and treasured verger at a Norfolk church has retired after eight years of faithful service.

Gordon Barker explaining the engraving to David Webster, on the right’. Pictures: supplied by Evelyn SpeedGordon Barker explaining the engraving to David Webster, on the right’. Pictures: supplied by Evelyn Speed

David Webster, 80, verger at St Nicholas Church in Dereham, is well known in the town, having worked at Dereham-based Crane Fruehauf, and was a scout leader for many years.

He retired due to illness on Sunday, January 6 and said he would miss meeting people at the church the most.

He said: “That’s not just the people in the church, but all the people who came to the church to visit. While they have not come in droves, I have met people from everywhere, including Australia, and all over.”

Mr Webster, who is married to Claudette and has two sons, and four grandchildren, spent three days a week at the church, before his retirement.

He added: “I was not there all day, but I used to keep it clean and meet people coming in.”

Thanks were paid to Mr Webster at the retirement service, which was led by Canon Sally Theakston, team rector of the Dereham and District Team Ministry.

And Mr Webster’s team of ‘Holy Dusters’ presented him with slippers, a liquorice pipe, and a posy of yellow roses made from dusters. He was also presented with an engraved crystal bowl.

He added: “The ‘Holy Dusters’ are mostly elderly women who come in to the church to dust the pews.”

Mr Webster said he had plenty of hobbies to keep him busy in his spare time.

He added: “I love everything to do with art and I enjoy painting model soldiers.”

Evelyn Speed, spokesperson for the church, said he would be hard to replace.

She said: “His dedication to St Nicholas has seen him ensure the church is well maintained and cleaned, thousands of chairs put out and then put away for services and events, staging put up and put down for concerts and more.

“He has been a campanologist, someone who is enthusiastic about bell-ringing, and a florist, as well as performing his verger’s duties with sensitivity and pride.

“His post is going to be hard to fill.”

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