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Beccles vicar made honorary canon

PUBLISHED: 16:19 20 March 2008 | UPDATED: 07:17 01 August 2010

THE Rev John Beauchamp, Vicar at St Michael's Church, Beccles and St Luke's at Rigbourne Hill, has been made an honorary canon at St Edmundsbury Cathedral at Bury St Edmunds.

THE Rev John Beauchamp, Vicar at St Michael's Church, Beccles and St Luke's at Rigbourne Hill, has been made an honorary canon at St Edmundsbury Cathedral at Bury St Edmunds.

The news was announced to the congregations of both St Luke's and St Michael's churches in Beccles at the weekend, and the honour has been bestowed by the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, the Rt Rev Nigel Stock, as one of his first acts since taking on the role.

A senior member of the church, John Allport, said it was a huge honour for Mr Beauchamp and his wife, Natalie, and comes 10 years after he took on the role of Vicar of St Luke's, accompanied by their children, Mandy and Paul.

Since then he has cared for the community through his evangelism, spiritual growth and his work in schools where, accompanied by his guide dog, he has enthralled children with stories of Billy.

“John is an outstanding visitor, and is out and about so much in Beccles with Alfie. People feel totally at ease to stop and talk to him, and as a result he has his finger on the pulse of what is going on. And he is of course a great motivator,” Mr Allport said.

Two years after his arrival he put in hands plans to upgrade and enlarge the Rigbourne Hill centre,a nd with his eladership and encouragement £343,000 was raised. It was officially opened in April last year.

When the Rev Andrew Thomas, Rector at St Michael's retired in 2004, Mr Beauchamp took on that church as well - in cluding the problems of the fabric of St Michael's.

Now his personal skills, sensitivity and judgment in all things have been recognised by the Bishop in selecting him for an honour which is rare, and the highest a Bishop can bestow. But he is the first to acknowledged that it could not have come without the support of his wife, who was the first office administrator, and who drives him everywhere for all his pastoral visits and other appointments.

He said so many people had been of such immense support to him in his 10 years ministry in Beccles - his curates, administrator, children's worker, the retired priests, his Readers and Lay Elders together with his churchwardens and officers, and every member of the two churches and the wider community past and present, who had come together as one and made all that has been achieved possible.

The churches will celebrate the couple's honour on Sunday, April 20 with other from throughout Suffolk at a special installation service at Bury St Edmund's Cathedral, during which he will be installed in his own seat in the Cathedral choir. Both Beccles churches will be arranging coaches to the service.

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