A MUCH-loved Orford vicar will be taking part in his final Warrington Walking Day on Friday before retiring.

Father Michael Raynor has presided over St Andrew’s in Orford for 22 years, but will step down from his role in autumn.

And after regularly donning his walking shoes with his wife Jenny, the 66-year-old admitted he will be sad to leave the tradition behind.

“We haven’t missed many, if not any, of the occasions during our time here and we always love taking part,” he said.

READ MORE > Everything you need to know about Warrington Walking Day 2019

“It’s an important tradition and a good focus for the whole town, so it has been good to be involved in it for 22 years.

“Probably the best part of Walking Day is that you get to see people you have helped in the past and those who you have not seen for years, which is always really nice.”

Father Michael also said he will take a step back from walking day next year out of courtesy for the next vicar but thanked the parishioners for making him and his wife feel so welcome.

“You get to know a lot of people in this job and it will be hard to leave them behind,” he added.

“At the minute we have no concrete plans for retirement, but we will probably do a bit of travelling.

“Other than that, we both like gardening so a lot of our time will be spent pottering around and pulling up the weeds.”

And his presence in Orford will be greatly missed by members of the parish, who were devastated when they found out he would be leaving.

“He’s been absolutely brilliant during the time he’s been with us and both him and his wife have been a big part of the community,” said Church warden Faith Greatorex.

“All the parishioners were devastated when they found out he was retiring, and he has been here that long he has become part of the furniture.

“The pupils at St Andrew’s Primary School all love him as well, so it will be sad to see him go, but we wish him all the best for the future.”