A vicar who led the rescue of a church from abandonment will stand down in October.
The Rev Paul Maybury took charge at Trinity Church when the leaking building was threatened with closure 12 years ago.
Since then, it has become a thriving centre of the town’s heritage, where visitors can climb the church spire, watch the Victorian bells in motion and take part in community activities.
Rev Maybury said: “There was water coming in through the ceiling and some people wanted the church to close.
“It wasn’t that they’d given up on God, just that they couldn’t see a way forward and were outfaced by the responsibility of an important building. After the church was built in 1865 it was left with little maintenance for generations, and it had reached a critical point.”
Over the years, Rev Maybury used eight English Heritage (EH) grants on projects to repair, rewire and redecorate the church.
The bell chamber and spire were restored and opened to the public, creating a popular attraction on heritage days.
And the church is now half way towards getting a new heating system, funded by its Make It Hot campaign.
Improvements to the building meant it could host a world exclusive reading of John Godber’s production ofStan Barstow’s A Kind of Loving and a performance by the London Community Gospel Choir last year.
Rev Maybury has also spearheaded a refurbishment of the Parish Centre, which is a vital meeting space for community groups allowing isolated elderly people to find support and companionship.
He said: “The building’s future is now almost secure. I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved here, but could not have done it without the help of church staff and volunteers.
“The people here in Ossett are wonderful, and it has been a huge privilege to be with people in their times of need.”
After conducting an estimated 600 baptisms and 600 funerals, Rev Maybury will take on a new role as spirituality coordinator for the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, and bishop missionary in south east Cyprus.
He will work at English-speaking churches in places such as Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
He said: “It’s a complete change and a new challenge.It’s all about helping everybody grow and understand more about faith.”
A leaving party for Rev Maybury and his wife Sarah will be held in the church on Friday, October 4, from 7pm until late. It is open to everybody and people bring food and their own drinks.
* The video, courtesy of the Ossett 14 bellringers, shows the bells ringing at Trinity Church.