Priest says thank you and goodbye to town

Father Mervyn Tower at St John's Roman Catholic Church in Banbury NNL-140426-194011009
Father Mervyn Tower at St John's Roman Catholic Church in Banbury NNL-140426-194011009

A priest who has served the Banbury community for ten years has thanked parishioners for their support as he moves to pastures new.

Father Mervyn Tower, who was appointed parish priest at St John’s church in Oxford Road in May 2004, left on Sunday.

He will take up a similar role at Holy Trinity Church in London Road, Chipping Norton.

Fr Tower, 63, said: “It has been a very good ten years.

“Part of the growth of the church in many aspects is reflected by what is going on in Banbury now. The Catholic church is an international organisation and many people who come from across the world to Banbury make St John’s a part of their life.

“Although I won’t be that far away I am sad to be leaving. I want to say a big thank you to everyone for the way we’ve supported each other.”

Fr Tower was also chaplain at the Horton Hospital, vice chair of governors at Blessed George Napier School and chair of governors and a governor at St John’s Primary School in Avocet Way.

“It was a great blessing for me to be able to help people who are sick at the Horton,” he said. “I went into the schools and celebrated mass and was also chaplain to the students as well. Working with the schools was a very nice part of my job.”

St John’s Church is a Grade II-listed building built in 1838 by famous architect A W Pugin.

Fr Tower said one of his favourite memories of his time in Banbury is the effort of the congregation in helping raise funds to restore the church’s sanctuary. He said: “We all raised the money in a record time to restore the church to the medieval colours it had when it was first built.

“The church is open 12 hours a day and there is always someone praying or taking time away from their troubles.

“It forms a haven for some people and I am delighted with that. It is such a beautiful building.”