A POPULAR village vicar who has helped triple his church’s congregation is saying a sad farewell to his community.
Rev Kesh Govan has looked after St Michael’s Church, in Rocester, as well as churches in Croxden and Hollington, for the last six years.
His energetic, humorous style has seen him win many friends over the years.
And Rev Govan has become well-known for enjoying nights out in Uttoxeter Town Centre, where he enjoys frequenting the Town House.
But he is now set to move on after securing a job as rector of Nelson Bay, in New South Wales, Australia.
Rev Govan will leave on July 21 and admits he will be leaving with a heavy heart.
He said: “There’s a shortage of clergymen in Australia and they’re looking for British vicars to come in.
“The whole interview process was conducted through Skype and I haven’t even met anyone from Nelson Bay yet.
“So it’s a bit of a leap of faith but I know what it’s like working abroad as I came to Rocester from a parish in the Republic of Ireland.
“My boss has told me Nelson Bay is a bit like the setting of Home and Away.
“He sent me a picture taken from my bedroom window and you can see dolphins swimming in the bay.
“It’ll be a challenge adapting to the culture. I’ll have to get used to the hot weather and having lots of barbecues.”
Rev Govan will be accompanied by his family - wife Catherine and children Joshua, 14, Amelia, 12, Bethany, eight and Madeline, four.
He said: “They’re all really excited but, like me, are sad to be leaving the Uttoxeter area.
“From day one, everyone’s been incredibly welcoming and I’ll miss my parishioners greatly.
“I hope to be able to welcome some of them to my new home in Australia one day.
The other side of Rev Govan’s life sees him perform as a comedian and singer.
He said he will fondly remember performing at a host of community events down the years.
He will also miss the Town House, his regular haunt during nights out in Uttoxeter.
He said: “I’m not unfamiliar with the Town House and a lot of people might know me from there.
“I’ll miss nights out in Uttoxeter with the brilliant friends I’ve made over here.”
Last week the Advertiser reported on Rev Govan’s missionary trip to Kenya.
He helped build school classrooms and ensure pupils were serviced with basic amenities like electricity.
He said: “I loved my missionary work. It was incredibly rewarding.
“But I’m equally as proud of the improvement we’ve seen with congregations in Rocester.
“They’ve tripled since I’ve been here and I like to think that’s because I like church to be a fun place to come.
“I like to make my sermons enetertaining and relate them to current events, even things like what’s been going on in Coronation Street.”