Second retirement begins for Canon

Reverend Canon Saunders looks back at his time in the church.

A respected member of Honiton’s clergy has retired - for a second time - after almost three decades of service to the community.

Reverend Cannon Richard Saunders bid farewell to his ministry and congregation at a special farewell service held at St Paul’s Church on Saturday, which was attended by Bishop Bob Evens, of Crediton.

The 94-year-old, who is the serving priest for Gittisham, retired on Sunday after 27 years of service in and around Honiton.

However, this is not the first time he has tried to take life a bit easier.

“I first retired when I was 65 and went to live in Street, Somerset, but I got bored with not having anything to do and applied for this job here,” says Mr Saunders.

He moved to Gittisham in 1984 where he took up the post at St Michael’s Church - deciding to leave retired life behind him.

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Mr Saunders revealed that he never intended to become a priest, but his path changed course while he was studying at Oxford University and he heard a talk by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple.

“He called on people to be ordained and I was one of several who answered his call.

“I hadn’t planned to go into the church; I was going to be an accountant,” he added.

He was ordained in 1942.

Mr Saunders spent much of his early life in India, where his father served as a chaplain to the armed forces, moving back to the UK when he was nine.

Mr Saunders said: “I will miss the friendship and community feeling in the village. I shall miss it very much.

“It’s all been full of relationships. It will be missed.”

He hopes to take things a bit easier and is planning to visit friends and family and squeeze in a holiday too.

“I am glad to have a change; whether I shall get bored again, I don’t know?”