A rock-loving vicar, who once led a pop group, is retiring from the ministry.

The Reverend Don Tordoff, who retires as Rector of Spennithorne, near Leyburn, North Yorkshire, set up a group at the Church of the Venerable Bede, Wyther, in Leeds, calling themselves the Ven Men.

The group soon made a name for themselves at hops in the Leeds area.

But guitar-playing Mr Tordoff eventually went into the ministry, initially serving as a curate at Christ Church, Harrogate. He is also a former vicar at St John's Church, Bilton, Harrogate.

Mr Tordoff's responsibilities as Rector at Spennithorne included the villages of Finghall and Hauxwell.

He spearheaded a popular open gardens trail in the village, which became a favoured location for shots in television's All Creatures Great and Small series.

Television's tales of James Herriot transformed Spennithorne Parish Church into Darrowby Church.

And a neighbouring mansion was used as the home of Mrs Pumphrey and her petted poodle Tricky Woo.

More than 20 gardens in Spennithorne and neighbouring Harmby are opened annually to the public, their links with the popular television programme helping to swell visitors.

Mr Tordoff opened his own garden and one year cut a 75ft green horse into a sloping meadow at the rectory. A competition to name the horse - Hillside Girl - helped to further boost church funds.

Mr Tordoff's wife Margaret is a local preacher.