A popular reverend credited with helping to transform an Isle church into a community hub is retiring because of ill health.
Reverend Tim Buckley, 55, has served parishioners for 15 years at St Oswald’s Church in Althorpe and introduced a range of community events and activities.
He has also been involved with a scheme to refurbish the Grade I listed building but will retire at the end of June because he is suffering from a rare condition called Myotonic dystrophy.
Rev Buckley didn’t even know he had the hereditary muscle wasting disease until he had a fall on holiday three years ago.
He said: “I was away in the New Forest and had a bad fall.
“I just didn’t feel right afterwards and so I went for a check up and that’s where they told me about the condition.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time here but I have got no choice but to retire.”
The father-of-four will be moving to Bognor Regis with wife Karen, 55.
Churchgoers said this week he has left a legacy of improvement at the church, which is currently undergoing a £32, 000 modernisation programme.
The scheme involves fitting solar panels to the roof, bringing in extra audio speakers and removing some of the pews to allow for more room at a cafe in the rear of the church.
There will also be a new lick of paint, while new toilet facilities have already been installed.
Church member Norman Chaddock, who is taking a lead role in the redevelopment, said: “The church needed this work doing, it will help to bring it into the modern age.
“The solar panels should save energy and the removal of some of the pews will give more room to the cafe, which is a bit cramped at the minute.
“The work will take a few months to complete we think and it will look great when completed.”
He also paid tribute to the service given by Rev Buckley.
“He has always been very forward thinking and he helped to pull the community together during his time here.
“Everyone has appreciated what he has done.
“There’s far more activities and events going on at the church now that there was before.
“Everyone wishes him and his family all the best.”
Funding for the project was sourced through North Lincolnshire Council’s LEADER programme, Waste Recycling Environment Ltd (WREN) and church funds.
There will be a leaving party for rev Buckley at Belton Pavilion on Saturday, June 29, from 7.30pm.
His final day at the church will be on the Sunday.