Archdeacon and wife looking forward to a busy retirement

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FRIENDS and colleagues of a long-serving clergyman will gather to wish him a fond farewell next week as he retires after more than a decade of church and community work.

But the Rev Bob Fitzharris, who is the current Archdeacon of Doncaster, will not be hanging up his clerical vestments for long, as he plans to serve as a stand-in vicar during his retirement.

Mr Fitzharris and his wife Lesley, who live in Doncaster, plan to remain in the area, but will attend an official farewell service at Doncaster Minster next Wednesday at 7.30pm.

The Diocese of Sheffield described the service as a “public thankyou for Bob’s ministry as archdeacon during a challenging time over a decade of change and development”. It will be attended by bishops past and present.

Mr Fitzharris said: “It has been an absolute pleasure and we will miss the day-to-day involvement in all the people and places which make up the diocese. But we also look forward to playing our part in a different way in 2012.”

A diocesan spokesman said the archdeacon, a former dentist, had “become well known for his excellent managerial approach to complicated issues”.

“He is also highly regarded for his ability to listen, chair meetings effectively and, most important of all, to see faith in all situations – however challenging,” the spokesman added.