THE Cowes community has bade a fond farewell to its vicar of almost two decades.
A farewell afternoon tea party was held at the Royal Yacht Squadron on Sunday for Canon Richard Emblin, the face of St Mary’s and Holy Trinity churches since 1995.
He will retire at the end of October to the New Forest, where he was born, with his wife, Andrea.
Mr Emblin, 64, who was a vicar in Wootton and Hayling Island before moving to Cowes, said he would miss the Island a great deal.
"We have loved living here. It was not an easy decision to leave but we wanted to be nearer to our children and grandchildren, who live on the mainland," said Mr Emblin, who is also president of 2nd Cowes (St Mary’s) Sea Scouts and chaplain of TS Osborne, Cowes Sea Cadets.
"Cowes is wonderful, the variety of work is tremendous and there are lots of interesting people. The churches here are quite active in the life of the community, which is very good, and the congregations are very supportive.
"The farewell tea was fantastic, although very emotional to say goodbye to people we have known for a long time."
Among the 250 guests at the party, who enjoyed music by wind band Quintile, and presented Mr Emblin with gifts, were MP Andrew Turner, IW Lord Lieutenant Maj Gen Martin White, Cowes mayor Cllr Geoff Banks and area dean, the Rev Kath Abbott.
Holy Trinity churchwarden David White, who organised the event, said: "It was a splendid do, everyone said how nice it was. It will be sad to see Richard go, he will be a hard act to follow."