Michael Dykes

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MICHAEL Dykes, a former North Yorkshire rector who was known as a hard working and caring priest with a good sense of humour, has died aged 68 after a long illness.

He was a no-nonsense, straightforward Yorkshireman who served almost all his ministry in his native North Yorkshire, his last incumbency being as Rector of Stokesley with Seamer, although he had been at Stokesley for nearly 23 years when he retired in 2008. Seamer had been added to his charge three years earlier.

Mr Dykes was born in Scarborough and returned to live there when he retired. He was educated at Richmond School, and on leaving spent four years in British Rail’s surveying department before becoming a full-time youth leader for the YMCA in Leeds and Bradford while exploring his vocation to the priesthood.

In 1968, he went to Chichester Theological College for Ordination training, being made a deacon in York Minster in 1971 and Ordained as a priest a year later.

He served his first curacy at Pocklington with Yapham cum Meltonby and Owsthorpe from 1972 until 1975 and it was while there that he met and married Ros Hislop. He then spent two years as a curate at Howden Minster.

He returned to his native North Yorkshire in 1977 when he was appointed Vicar of Sleights with Eskdaleside-cum-Ugglebarnby and Sneaton.

During that time, Mr Dykes was a member of the York Diocesan Synod and the Diocesan Children and Youth committee. He was also involved with peace and justice issues and took groups to the Holy Land.

He was also a Scout leader and District Commissioner in North Yorkshire.

Mr Dykes then became Rector of Stokesley in 1985, later also taking in Seamer in Cleveland then Hilton in Cleveland, during which time he trained five curates.

He served on the Diocesan Property Trust and Investment Committee and was a trustee of the Lady Hurrocks Charity, the Preston Education Foundation and the Mary Madeleine Walker Trust and was very active in Churches Together in Stokesley, as well as being secretary of Stokesley and District Community Care Association and the Churches Together day centre.

It was through nature that he saw God. As a keen birdwatcher and a member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, he spent his holidays working as a warden at the Scottish osprey reserve at Loch Garten.

Other hobbies included walking on the moors, winemaking, archaeology, photography and football – he was a Leeds United fan.

Paying tribute to Mr Dykes, former Bishop of Whitby Gordon Bates said: “Michael was a no-nonsense, straightforward, hard-working priest with true Yorkshire grit and a good sense of humour. He had a deep sense of vocation and commitment and it was a great bonus having him to work with.”

Mr Dykes is survived by his wife Ros, a son and two daughters, and two granddaughters.