Burgess Hill vicar who launched the local foodbank says goodbye

Father Kevin O'Brien has been appointed the new Church of Ireland rector of the Drumcliffe group of parishes, County Clare, in the west of Ireland.
Father Kevin O'Brien has been appointed the new Church of Ireland rector of the Drumcliffe group of parishes, County Clare, in the west of Ireland.

Leaving Burgess Hill is a ‘bittersweet’ move for Father Kevin O’Brien, vicar of St John the Evangelist’s Church in Burgess Hill.

Father Kevin has been appointed as the new Church of Ireland rector of the Drumcliffe group of parishes, County Clare, in the west of Ireland. The move is a form of homecoming.

Kevin said: “We’ve taken holidays in Ballynacally for 17 years. There are three active churches, Spanish Point where the Armada was wrecked, Newmarket and Fergus, as well as an historic part-ruined cathedral where services are held once a year.”

Married to Sue, the couple have two adult sons, Patrick and Fergus, plus two lurchers, Jimmy and Seamus, all set to enjoy the large rectory garden.

Kevin is well known in Burgess Hill for founding and running community schemes like the foodbank, stroke and dementia clubs, IT and cookery groups.

He said: “We’ve been through a lot together. My dad died the night I launched the foodbank and a boy took his life in the churchyard. Moving is bittersweet as we leave wonderful friends and some sad memories.”

Before ordination, Kevin worked in TV and advertising and became senior lecturer in international marketing at Bournemouth University.

He served as an assistant curate and later school chaplain up until his 2006 appointment as Chaplain to the Bishop in Europe.

His last service is at 10am on September 15 and he looks forward to greeting friends, parishioners and those he has met over ‘nine wonderful years’.