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Norfol rector and former RAF chef retires from Poppyland parish

PUBLISHED: 16:12 19 November 2018 | UPDATED: 23:07 19 November 2018

Reverend Canon David Roper. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Reverend Canon David Roper. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

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The rector of a group of north Norfolk parishes has sung his final evensong service before leaving to “bang his own drum” into retirement.

The Rev Canon David Roper, 65, held his final service at St James’ Church, in Southrepps, on his last day in parish ministry.

Mr Roper retired from the Benefice of Poppyland, a group of seven churches just outside Cromer, on Sunday, November 18, where he had worked for the past three years.

The former chef served in the RAF until 1993, and came to Norfolk as a curate in Brancaster, after attending theological college.

Originally from Liverpool, he later worked in Dereham and Kent and served for a year as rector in the Falkland Islands, before returning to north Norfolk to take up the role in Poppyland.

Parish members attend the final service of the Rector of the Poppyland Benefice, David Roper, before he retires. Picture: Victoria PertusaParish members attend the final service of the Rector of the Poppyland Benefice, David Roper, before he retires. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Mr Roper added: “I hope there will be the opportunity to assist churches where we’re going to live and in Norwich, so it’s not an entire full stop.

“There will be plenty for me to do, I hope, as well as learning new things and new hobbies.”

He said his fondest memories of his parishes over the years included “great achievements”.

He said: “It’s a collection of very small villages and yet people have managed to raise enough money each year not only for paying the ministry but also for improvements to buildings.

Parish members attend the final service of the Rector of the Poppyland Benefice, David Roper, before he retires. Picture: Victoria PertusaParish members attend the final service of the Rector of the Poppyland Benefice, David Roper, before he retires. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

“Northrepps had the lead stolen last year off its roof and the community came together to raise over £30,000 to have it replaced.

“That sort of attitude happens in various places and it’s a great joy when people come together because they appreciate the heritage aspect of these buildings and the central place of the church in the community, even if they don’t turn up every week.”

Ahead of his final service, Mr Roper said his retirement plans included opportunities to help other churches, as well as immersing himself in music.

He said: “Music has always been an important part of my life and this service which we’re preparing for is a sung service, choral evensong.

Parish members attend the final service of the Rector of the Poppyland Benefice, David Roper, before he retires. Picture: Victoria PertusaParish members attend the final service of the Rector of the Poppyland Benefice, David Roper, before he retires. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

“I occasionally have the privilege of singing evensong in the cathedral and I’m hoping to do a bit more of that.

“I will join a choir, I hope, and I’ve just joined Aylsham Silver Band in the percussion department so I can go on banging my own drum.”

Mr Roper is retiring to Drayton with his wife, Christine.

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