BRAKESPEARE: March Catholic priest retires after 17 years - and his replacement has already been found

ONE man no doubt chuckling over the Government’s decision to extend retirement by a year to 66 is Father Eric Willett who, at 72, is to retire after 17 years as parish priest at March Roman Catholic Church.

A farewell party is being held on Sunday, and on Monday he will be heading back to Newport in Wales, the town where he began his priesthood.

Father Eric became a teacher within the Rosminion Order for more than 25 years.

He lived in Wales for 10 years before moving to New Zealand, where he was a headmaster for more than 20 years. He returned to this country and became priest at March.

After a hernia operation a few years ago he contracted MRSA and became critically ill and, sadly, the illness has caused him daily pain.

Many will miss seeing Father Eric at cricket and rugby matches and with one of the many Jack Russell dogs he’s cared for over the years.

His parishioners will, no doubt, be comforted, too, by the fact a replacement is already in place, Father Phillip Santer from Rugby.

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In this respect the Roman Catholics do it so much better than Anglicans where, as has been found on occasions in the Fens, once a priest retires he is not replaced.

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