A Ryedale priest celebrated the 40th anniversary since his ordination with a special service and a reception last Friday.

Father Tim Bywater, who trained at Ushaw College in Co.Durham, stressed at the service at St Leonard & St Mary’s RC Church, Malton, that he wanted the Mass to be for Christian unity.

Clergy from different denominations and parishioners from Malton and other areas he has worked in filled the church.

Fthr Tim, who has been at Malton for 13 years, was assisted at the service by Monsignor David Hogan of Nunthorpe and Fthr James Blenkinsopp of Northallerton and Thirsk.

The organist was Philip Jakob (correct) director of music at the cathedral and Diocese of Hallam, Sheffield. He was accompanied on guitars by John Gallagher, Dr David Longworth and Chris Sullivan.

Fthr Tim hailed from Leeds but his family moved to Scarborough when he was young and it was at that town’s St Edward the Confessor where his ordination took place on June 8 1974.

He had six different posts after that before moving to Malton.

They included parishes at Beverley, Howden, Home upon Spalding Moor and St George’s York.

He was secretary to Bishop Augustine Harris and for four years was a Royal Air Force Chaplain.

At a reception at the Railway Club, Norton, he was presented with a cheque by parishioner Michael Cleary.

A keen railway enthusiast Fthr Tim wants to do more travelling and also study the role of military chaplains during the First World War.

He said: “I felt the occasion was a springboard for the future rather than just a celebration of the past but the last 40 years have been very rewarding and varied.My time in Malton has been very affirmative and I value greatly the support of members of other Christian churches in the area.”