A VICAR gave his last sermon and bid a fond farewell to parishioners during his leaving service on Sunday.

Reverend Peter Walker, 69, who is retiring from ministry after 14 years, said his goodbyes at All Saints in Deganwy. About 85 people attended as well as the mayor of Conwy, councillor Sam Cotton.

A total of £381 was raised as a donation for Aberconwy Domestic Abuse, a cause that continues to be supported by All Saints.

In 2010, Mr Walker took on the churches of the old Llangystennin parish - St Michael's, St Katherine's Pydew and St Cystennin's - but on becoming a Mission Area, he looked after St Michael and All Angels in Llandudno Junction and All Saints.

The poet and former modern languages teacher has served the Aberconwy Mission Area (formally the Rectorial Benefice) since 2010.

Mr Walker who is married to Susie, is moving to Liverpool to be closer to his daughter Louise.

Speaking to the Pioneer, Mr Walker, said: “It has been a very interesting time. I have really enjoyed it.

“You can’t always know where you are going to be, you are doing a great variety of work - baptisms, weddings etc.

“It is hard to walk away."

Mr Walker, who has published five collections of poems with his most recent book - The House of Being, which won the Local Legend Spiritual Writing competition in 2018 - was ordained as deacon in 2005 and as priest in 2006.

He was ordained in the Lichfield Diocese and worked as a hospital chaplain in Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust.

Originally from the West Midlands, Mr Walker was called to the church - and made the transition from teaching - after the birth of his daughter.

“I was never involved much in church before,” Mr Walker explained.

North Wales Pioneer:

Reverend Peter Walker is moving to Liverpool to be closer to his daughter. Picture: Kerry Roberts

“I described what happened as a big moment in my life. When my daughter was born and I was doing the feeds in the middle of the night and I got a really sense - in those early hours of the morning - that something or someone was helping me.

“It was a very strong felling. I was not really involved in the church and I sensed a feeling that God was holding me.

“I felt I wanted to go to communion.

“When I enquired if I could attend, they said yes - of course come and do it.

“It was that openness and that acceptance that brought me to the church.

"This has influence me to be very open and accepting of where others are on their journey."

Talking about changes witnessed over the years, Mr Walker mentioned the mission area but also the new generation of people that the church is hoping to attract.

“A lot of people are interested in asking the big questions, but sometimes it is the confidence of getting them to come to church in order to do that,” he said.

“We have achieve the balance between appealing to a new generation but also making sure that our regular parishioners know they are important as well."

Mr Walker, who was chaplain to the mayor of Conwy - first Pat Hart and then Bill Chapman, and also chaplain to Llandudno St John Ambulance - said he will, however, not be retiring from his poetry. The Church in Wales’s poet has had his work published in magazines and his latest book is available to buy on Amazon.

“They are inspired by spiritual matters,” Mr Walker added.

“Church experiences, nature around us.

“The Bishop of St Asaph tells me that he uses my work now and again in his reflections. When the Bishop tells you that he uses your poems in his reflections, well that really is something."