A retired rector returned to service after just one day’s rest to read his last prayer to Sidmouth’s civic leaders before their meeting last Monday.

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The Reverend Prebendary David James was presented with the town plaque as thank for his 18 years’ dedication and given a standing ovation.

He was meeting town councillors in an official capacity for the final time, but leader Stuart Hughes said he was sure it wasn’t the last they had seen of him.

Councillor Hughes recounted Reverend James’ achievements, saying he was immediately well liked by the congregation.

He added that Reverend James had always been a consummate professional who made the church more flexible to the town’s changing needs.

The reverend said he valued the relationship and the links the council had with the Christians of Sidmouth, and hopes it will continue.

The 65-year-old is retiring to Exeter with his wife Ruth.

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