Long-serving Melton rector prepares for final Sunday service

It will be an emotional moment in Melton’s St Mary’s Church this weekend when the Rev Kevin Ashby addresses the congregation for the final time at a Sunday service.

By Nick Rennie
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 10:35 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 10:37 am
Rev Kevin Ashby, rector of Melton Mowbray
Rev Kevin Ashby, rector of Melton Mowbray

Rev Ashby has been rector of the Melton team parish since 2009 and since then he has played a leading role in the community, working with schools, the council and food events, as well as carrying out his ministry and pastoral duties.

We revealed back in November that he had decided to retire so parishioners have had plenty of time to thank him for his service.

He won’t be leaving straight away, however, because a member of his team catching Covid has led to him taking on a number of weddings and baptisms over the next few weeks.

Sunday, at 10.30am, will be his last church service, though, and all are welcome to attend with food and refreshments provided afterwards to mark the occasion.

Rev Ashby told the Melton Times: “Right up until Sunday I will still be working at full pelt but next Monday and Tuesday is when it will probably sink in that I’m retiring.

“I’ve been involved in so many things over the years that people from all areas of the town’s life have said some really nice things about me which is lovely.”

He has had to cope with some huge challenges in recent years – the church was closed for a year in 2017 to enable a huge £2million refurb and upgrade of the historic building and in 2020 services had to go online and parishioners were confined to home during the pandemic. His plans for a sabbatical had to be shelved as the virus took hold on everyone’s lives.

Rev Ashby, who is looking forward to spending more time with family, has to take six months out now before he plans to get involved, on a part-time basis, in local church work.

It is likely that a successor for Rev Ashby will not be appointed for another 18 months so his duties will be taken on by other members of the ministry team until then.

One of his last commitments will be to attend a meeting at St Leonard’s Church at Sysonby, on Saturday at 10am, to rally support for worship and fundraising.