Town says 'au revoir not goodbye' to popular reverend
PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:16 03 June 2019
A popular Exmouth minister says his departure next month will be 'au revoir, not goodbye' when he leaves for pastures new.
The Reverend James Hutchings, 56, will bring the curtain down on eight years as the head of the Holy Trinity Church with his final service on Sunday, June 30.
During that time he helped create the Littleham Cum Exmouth with Lympstone Mission Community - a group of three churches in the area.
He also christened a baby on board a lifeboat and officiated at the funeral of a popular fisherman in the town.
Ahead of his move to London, Mr Hutchings said: "I reflect on all the people we have had dealings with over that time because the nature of church life is getting to meet people through moments of celebration like weddings and christenings.
"I feel like here I have given of my best and one of the most important things to me was building a team of churches here.
"It's just a chance to do something afresh."
Mr Hutchings, who first came to Devon in the 1980s when he was studying economics at Exeter University, said he is most proud of building on the town's community spirit and supporting the outreach work the church does in Exmouth.
Other highlights include leading a service to mark the christening of the town's RNLI Shannon-class lifeboat R and J Welburn and presiding over the funeral of Geoff Ingram - a fisherman who died in 2012 when his fishing boat Sarah Jayne capsized.
Mr Hutchings said he won't be leaving Exmouth for good as he has found his family has its roots in Devon.
READ MORE: Exmouth RNLI's new lifeboat officially named
He said: "Since moving down here I have found that we have relatives going back generations. It has felt like a place with roots.
"We have three children and they have grown up here.
"The day I go to London I will realise that I cannot go for a walk with the dog on the beach anymore and I will miss it a great deal.
"We have got lots of links to the town so it's au revoir, not goodbye."