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Ludgershall rector says farewell
10:57am Friday 8th February 2013 in Andover
The Reverend Malcolm Freeman, pictured, held his final service on Sunday as the Anglican minister at St James’s Church in Ludgershall and the Holy Trinity in Tidworth.
The 64-year-old grandfather said he was accepted by the villagers from the moment he arrived.
“My 11 years have just flown by, they have been totally enjoyable,”
He added that it had been the members of both congregations who had put the hard work into their communities.
On the one occasion vandals attacked St James’s Church, and parishioners rallied round and got repairs done.
“I have had excellent support from both churches, said Rev Freeman.
“We have had two brilliant new church halls built. One here and one in Tidworth.
“Members of the congregation built them all for free and I have to praise them for all the work that they have done in the past few years.”
A former Merchant Navy mariner Mr Freeman gave up life on the high seas to get into church after he wanted to get his son baptised.
During his time at the church – which dates back to the 13th century – he invited Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon into his church so she could do some family research.
“Some of her distant relatives are buried in the churchyard.
She saw the graves and I had a chat with her. She was exceptionally nice, but very normal,” he said.
But for Mr Freeman it hasn’t been all glamour. He has been happy to serve the people in his parish. He described what it was like to be taking off his dog collar for the last time.
“It’s when you think this is the last time I’m going to do this