A SURPRISE farewell service was held at Winchester Cathedral for the Rev Michael Jackson in recognition of his 26 years as director of St John's Winchester Charity.

The service was attended by trustees, staff, residents and Friends of St John's, together with Rev Jackson's family and associates.

This was followed by a buffet lunch at the Guildhall with more than 250 people seeing him presented with farewell gifts from the staff and residents.

Although Michael Jackson retires from St John's Winchester Charity he continues his ministry in a new role as Vicar of the Church of St Michael the Archangel in Kirkby Malhamdale, North Yorkshire.

The new director will be Clive Cook, a partner in the international law firm Baker & McKenzie. He starts on December 9.

Mr Cook has been looking to make a transition into a management role in the charitable sector for a little while and welcomed the opportunity to apply for the position.

Richard Steel, chairman of the trustees, welcomed his appointment: “We had a strong field of applicants for this post, but we were unanimous in wishing to appoint Clive. The trustees are confident that Clive will bring great vision and leadership to the charity.”

Mr Cook said: “Following Michael Jackson is a daunting task as he has done such an amazing job for St John's for over 26 years. I wish him well in his next endeavour. I will seek to build on his legacy and work with our trustees to maintain the charity's high standards of care and strong community spirit, working in tandem with stakeholders and the local community.”