THE Vicar of Pickering is to get married this Saturday after surprising his congregation with the news.

Father Antony Pritchett, who has been Vicar of Pickering with Lockton and Levisham since 2008, announced that he and Gillian Renshaw are to marry, by reading his own Banns.

Fr Antony and Gillian will be married during a Nuptial Mass that will take place in Pickering Parish Church at 11am.

The marriage itself will be conducted by the Venerable Richard Seed, formerly Archdeacon of York, the Right Reverend Peter Burrows, Bishop of Doncaster and formerly Fr Antony’s Incumbent when he served as curate in Leicester, will give the Blessing of the marriage. The Eucharist will be conducted by another close friend, Fr Michael Morris, Rector of Harbledown, near Canterbury.

Fr Antony said: "We managed to keep news of our engagement secret, so the Banns really came as a great surprise to everyone. There was a round of applause at church and since announcing it we have both been just overwhelmed by the congratulations and good wishes and real joy from absolutely everyone in town.

He added: "We’re hoping that people will want to come and support us by coming to the church service. It’s going to be a terrific day and Gillian and I are so looking forward to our wedding."