Parishioners at St Bede Church in Croxley Green packed the pews to show their gratitude to a long-serving parish priest who retired on Sunday (September 30).

Reverend Canon Philip Cross is stepping down after 12 years at the church and was given a fine send-off with the church filled to capacity for a special mass.

Among the crowd were a dozen of his fellow priests from other Croxley churches.

Father Cross, who previously served at Our Lady and St Michael’s in Garston from 1979 to 1984 before arriving at St Bede in 2000, oversaw several notable improvements to the church.

He also supported many initiatives, including a fund to pay for a new roof for a village church in Kenya.

Following the mass, more than 150 people joined him for a celebration dinner at West Herts Golf Club.