The Bishop of Ely has paid tribute to the Archdeacon of Cambridge, John Beer, who is set to retire after almost 40 years in the church.

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The Rt Rev Stephen Conway said the archdeacon had “served with distinction” and displayed a “wonderful joie de vivre” in his work in the church.

The archdeacon is to retire in March having served in his present role in the Diocese of Ely since 2004, before which time he was Archdeacon of Huntingdon and Wisbech.

He served in various commuter parishes of the diocese and has spent a significant amount of his ministry being involved with colleges at Cambridge University.

He has also been an honorary canon of Ely Cathedral since 1989.

The Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, said: “John Beer has served the church with distinction. He is someone who combines a disciplined life of prayer with a wonderful joie de vivre and extraordinary energy.

“John has served both as Archdeacon of Huntingdon and Archdeacon of Cambridge. Consistently through the years he has been a loyal and supportive colleague of three Bishops of Ely.

“I have found his wisdom, kindness and intellectual rigour both stimulating and sustaining of my ministry so far. I shall miss him as a colleague, but I look forward to continuing friendship.”

There will be a farewell service to mark the retirement at Ely Cathedral on March 2 at 4pm.

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