PARISHIONERS paid tribute to a long-serving reverend at a service yesterday.
The congregation of St Faith’s Church in Tribe Road, Gosport gathered to celebrate Reverend Alan Ball’s work over the past 20 years at the church.
Rev Ball moved to Gosport in 1983 after running a business in Birmingham, and already involved in the clergy, he moved to the town and started at St Faith’s.
While here he established a Sunday school and although numbers have dwindled as the years passed, previous pupils returned yesterday to mark the occasion.
Noelle Doherty is currently deputy churchwarden at the church and said Rev Ball has been dedicated to serving the congregation.
Mrs Doherty said a minister once visited Rev Ball in hospital and told him to take time off from work.
‘He came to see him and told him to take time off work, which was right, he needed the rest,’ she said.
‘He found it very difficult to not work, he doesn’t like not working.
‘He’s just a very, very good man, he loves his job, there’s no doubt about it.’
Mrs Doherty and her husband Ron, a fellow churchwarden, gave a presentation thanking him for his work at St Faith’s, with Rev Ball’s wife Joan receiving flowers from the congregation.
But Rev Ball is more used to holding services, rather than being the subject of them.
Mrs Doherty said his services reach everyone in the congregation individually, as if they were meant for one person alone.
She said: ‘When the sermon finished, I turned to my friend and said “he preached a good sermon today, it was just for me” and she said “no it was for me”.
‘He has that talent, he could get through to so many people, some people just stand up and read something, he doesn’t need to.
Charles Squire, 81, of Eastcroft Road, Gosport, was churchwarden for 15 years but retired 10 years ago.
He said: ‘He’s been good to St Faith’s Church, he’s attended everything that goes on, socials and that kind of thing.
‘He does services at other churches too if someone can’t turn up at the last minute.’
Rev Ball, who is 87, told The News: ‘It was a most joyous occasion and they really pulled all the stops out.
‘It was quite a surprise to me. While I can keep going and be of service, I will.’