Vicar to bid farewell to his village parish

The Rev David Oxtoby leading the service at the RAF Propeller Memorial. SG240917-146TW
The Rev David Oxtoby leading the service at the RAF Propeller Memorial. SG240917-146TW

Popular Sutton Bridge vicar, the Rev David Oxtoby, is heading for a new job as team rector of Rayleigh, Essex, in the new year.

Former IT professional David became vicar of St Matthew’s, Sutton Bridge, and St Mary’s, Tydd St Mary, in 2013.

And his last service, at St Matthew’s on December 31, will be a combined one for both parishes.

David has played an active role in community life, spearheading a new food bank at Sutton Bridge, which opened in 2014. He previously helped found a foodbank in his former parish in Stamford.

David says the foodbank has given out 4,000 to 5,000 meals, along with Christmas hampers, since it started, and he’s delighted volunteers will continue the good work.

In January last year, Sutton Bridge residents received through their doors David’s free booklet guide to events, activities and groups.

David said then: “This project is for the benefit of the community, not to promote any businesses, and focused on those things that promote and help the community.”

David’s musician wife, Christina, is well-known as a dog trainer and has competed at Crufts in heelwork to music classes at the Birmingham NEC.

Christina also launched a gospel choir, which has grown from a dozen people to 40 members, and David says members perform with “confidence, energy and real professionalism”.

The choir will be in action at 6.30pm on Saturday, October 21, at St Matthew’s to raise funds following the recent break-in at the church.

David describes the move to Rayleigh as “an exciting new chapter in our ministry”.

He said: “We’ll be sad to leave behind many wonderful friends we’ve made.”