A THANKSGIVING and farewell service will be held for a popular Darlington vicar who is leaving to take up a senior post with the Church of England.

Canon John Dobson, Area Dean of Darlington, is preparing to take over as the Dean of Ripon.

The informal farewell service will take place at St Cuthbert’s Church on Sunday, May 18, at 6pm.

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Clergy and parishioners from the Darlington deanery will be invited, along with representatives of the broader Durham diocese.

Hylda Hopper, lay chairwoman of the Darlington Deanery Synod, said: “Hopefully, representatives from Churches Together, along with council, business and community colleagues who have shared in John’s work, will be present.

“We hope that it will be an opportunity for the people of Darlington to say thank you properly for all the work and encouragement he has given us over the last 22 years.”

Refreshments will be served in the church hall after the service, to which all are welcome.

Anyone who wishes to contribute to a leaving collection for Rev Dobson is invited to contact deanery treasurer Michael Shepherd, on 01325-489990, by May 6.

Cheques should be made payable to the Darlington Deanery Synod.