Standing ovation as Father Hird says his farewells

DEPARTING parish priest Fr Nicholas Hird got a standing ovation as he performed his farewell Mass in Dewsbury on Sunday.

Saturday, 19th November 2011, 6:30 am

A packed St Paulinus church gave him a ‘fitting send-off’ as the service was also the Remembrance Day tribute to the fallen.

Fr Hird has left the Westtown church after 10 years in a straight swap to a Huddersfield parish.

St Paulinus parish council chairman Tom O’Donovan said: “It was very emotional. People came to pay their respects and show their appreciation to Fr Hird. His ministry raised awareness of the sacrifices made by so many so it was hugely symbolic that his last service was on Remembrance Day. We found that very poignant.”

Fr Hird spoke movingly about his time in Dewsbury, saying St Paulinus had helped shape him as a priest. “I shan’t forget the people of Dewsbury,” he said. “And I hope they won’t forget me.”

The Rev Canon Kevin Partington of Dewsbury Minster paid tribute to Fr Hird at the town’s remembrance service. And Dewsbury West Labour councillor Darren O’Donovan said: “His leadership and caring will be missed.”

Fr John Aveyard has come from Huddersfield to take over at St Paulinus.