‘Outstanding’ Jo leaves church for a new challenge

Deacon Jo Gavigan, who has left St Richard's church after 11 years SUS-140108-101637001
Deacon Jo Gavigan, who has left St Richard's church after 11 years SUS-140108-101637001

A DEACON of 11 years who has stepped down from her role has left ‘a legacy for great community spirit’ following her tireless work.

Jo Gavigan, 65, is looking forward to new challenges after retiring from St Richard’s Church, in Collingwood Road, Maybridge.

Aside from riding her new bike, presented to her at a farewell service, she intends to continue her work in the community.

“I am sad to be leaving but I was 65 this year and I think there are new opportunities for me in the ministry and it’s also good for the church to have a new challenge,” she said.

“I will be having a few months off and then I am going to be looking at doing something with children who need mentoring and something to support some friends,who are Palestinians.”

Around 150 people turned up for a farewell service on July 27, including representatives from Sussex Police, as Jo was in the force before taking the cloth.

John Nutt and David Whelpdale, who attended the service, said the former deacon’s work had been ‘outstanding’ and she always welcomed parishioners with love and warmth.

David said: “Her work with the local schools has been outstanding and she has made strong roots with these and other organisations within the community.

“The admiration for Jo’s work was clear to see at the service and her legacy for great community spirit and fulfilling worship at St Richard’s will live on. We wish her a happy retirement.”

Jo’s highlights include several years as royal dean for Worthing, while she broke down barriers to work closely with Ivy Arch Islamic Centre.

She said: “In the parish, my highlight would be working in the community, particularly with the schools.

“My farewell service was fantastic. It was informal and I was given a lovely new bike. I will be looking to get more healthy in the future.”

The church will have a period of vacancy, while it selects its new deacon.