Hambledon has said a fond farewell to its associate vicar Catherine McBride, who has left the village to become vicar of St Mary’s, Market Drayton, Shropshire.
Catherine arrived in Hambledon more than five years ago and quickly became a popular figure; among her congregation at St Peter’s and within the village as a whole. She will be much missed but goes with the best wishes and blessings of the many friends she made.
Her departure was marked in several ways: at her final Sunday services on October 15, at a farewell tea party hosted at Feathercombe, and at a get-together at the Merry Harriers a few days earlier on October 12.
She then took a short holiday in Iceland before returning to pack her bags at Mervil Bottom, her Hambledon home, in preparation for beginning her new life and challenge in Shropshire, close to the Welsh borders from where she hails.
She takes up her responsibilities in Market Drayton with her licensing service on November 22. In the meantime, the Busbridge and Hambledon Benefice has started the process to find a replacement and interviews will be held later this month.
Before moving last week Catherine told the village website: “I can honestly say that Hambledon has been the most amazing place to live and work. I have been extremely happy here and it is in no small part due to the wonderful community in the village, who made me feel so welcome. I feel I have made some good friends here, who I am sure I will keep in touch with.
“I would encourage everyone to cherish the village and what it has to offer: continue to be a warm and loving community, which looks out for each other and where everyone ‘does their bit’ so that Hambledon can continue to thrive.
“I’ll take some very special memories with me of the times when I’ve had the privilege of being part of significant moments and occasions for Hambledon families and will certainly keep you all in my prayers.
Many thanks and God bless”.
At her leaving party at Feathercombe, the home of Ion and Muriel Campbell, she was presented with a cake made by Katherine Frogley, which was decorated to illustrate some of Catherine’s passions; the church, rugby, the Welsh dragon – and a pint of bitter.
Farewell speeches were made by Simon Taylor, rector of Busbridge and Hambledon, churchwardens Alan Harvey and Liz Cooke and PCC treasurer Alison Martin.
At her farewell party in the Merry Harriers, where Catherine would enjoy a pint of Surrey Hills bitter and take part in quiz and music nights, she took to the microphone to give a rendition of the Tom Jones hit Delilah, accompanied by Mike Blanchard on key board. See photograph below. Many villagers were in attendance.