MORE than 1,000 parishioners and friends packed out St Mary's Church in Isleworth on Saturday, to honour the retirement of Rev David Wilson and his wife Jan.
Masterminded by Neil Hawes, organist and choir master, the evening's entertainment was the start of a weekend of events to mark the completion of 21 Years of service by the Wilsons which has seen St Mary's Church go from strength to strength with a flourishing congregation, the construction of a state of the art brand new £1m Community Hall, complete with photo electric roof, refurbishing of a second community hall, and the reconstruction of the chancel to accommodate more community use such as this concert.
The audience included many parishioners who had moved far away, often to work within the church following inspiration from the Wilsons, and included the Rev. Rosie Hoad, now vicar of St Faith's in Brentford.
Also present was the Rev. Edgar Douse, long retired to live locally, but still preaching around the area, including St Mary's.
The programme recognised David Wilson's love of a wide range of music and his contribution in the production of several hymn books both for youth and modern adult congregations, as well as being a composer himself.
The array of performers stretched from the Brownies singing "Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner" to pieces played by the Hounslow Symphony Orchestra chamber group, the orchestra holding regular concerts in the church.
Philip Halanen, now into a career in music, returned to the parish to give an organ recital, while Sally Martin-Brown, Jacqui Silverstone, Sally Pinney, and Philippa Bellis all sang and range of solo pieces. The contribution of the choir was even wider, from religious to the Highway Code put to music, plus a spoof summary of the Wilson's incumbency set to a hymn tune.
David Wilson's final service at St Mary's the next morning was equally well attended, with a number of gifts, including a prized early edition of Mrs Beeton's Cook Book for Jan in recognition of her great interest in cooking, including publishing her own book of recipes.
The search and selection process to find a new vicar has started. In the meantime the Rev. Marion Warman holds the fort, assisted by a team of Lay Readers and past curate the Rev. William Hepper, now resident in Hounslow after several years missionary work in Egypt.