An “inspirational” Batley vicar will lead his last mass in the town this weekend before taking up a royal appointment at Hampton Court Palace.
Father Anthony Howe, who has been vicar at Christ Church in Staincliffe for more than 13 years, has been chosen by the Queen to become Chaplain and Deputy Priest in Ordinance at the Chapel Royal in Hampton Court Palace.
He is now part of the the sovereign’s Ecclesiastical Household.
Church members in Staincliffe have paid tribute to Fr Howe and his time as vicar in the district.
Church warden Michael Ramsay said: “I will be sorry to see Fr Anthony go, he has been very good.
“He is first class and so is his work looking after the sick and bereaved.
“He has been impeccable and an inspiration to us.
“Everyone is wishing him well at Hampton Court.”
Fr Howe’s new duties will include running daily services at the chapel and ministering more than 400 members of staff at royal palaces as well tourists, visitors and its congregation.
He said: “I am hugely honoured that Her Majesty has appointed me to be chaplain of the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court. I will be part of a long tradition of worship, music and pastoral care that has surrounded the monarch for nearly 1000 years”.
But he said leaving Batley would be a “double-edged sword”.
He said: “It is always sad to say goodbye. Having ministered in Yorkshire for over 13 years, leaving will be a double edged sword.
“But I trust and pray that God will bless the people of Staincliffe and Carlinghow with a faithful priest, and that their faith and love of Christ will grow ever stronger.”
Fr Howe was born in Suffolk and studied for a degree in music at The Queen’s College in Oxford.
Bishop of Wakefield Tony Robinson said: “I am delighted that Fr Anthony has been appointed to serve as Chaplain in the Royal Household with responsibility for Hampton Court Palace. Given his gifts with music and liturgy he is well-suited to this post.”
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