Sep 13 2012 By Rupert Basham
Prebendary Neil Richardson of the Holy Cross Church in Greenford.
FOR the past 30 years Neil Richardson has presided over hundreds if not thousands of baptisms, weddings and funerals for the families of Greenford.
But last weekend, as the popular reverend celebrated three decades since arriving at the Holy Cross Church, in Oldfield Lane South, there was no big bash to mark this momentous occasion as the soon to be grandfather-of-four says it has been a privilege and a pleasure.
He said: "I'm privileged in the sense that I've been a part of the community. I've been there for baptisms, weddings and funerals and that's where you really feel life.
"It's a privilege to have been involved in people's lives and those important moments - moments they remember for the rest of their lives and it's been a pleasure and a joy to have been part of it. My job itself is a celebration"
In September 1982, Mr Richardson arrived in Ealing, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, with his wife Marion and sons Toby and Ben, having beaten five others to the much sought after position.
In his time as Reverend Prebendary, he has also played a prominent role in the lives of youngsters as the chair of governors at Coston and Edward Betham C of E primary schools.
He has also seen the area change, in his opinion, for the better.
He said: "Greenford has become much more mulitcultural, welcoming people from all over the world. It's a typical part of London which is a world city so people from all over the world have come here. It's wonderful and inviting."
Now that the 66-year-old has reached this landmark, retirement in firmly in his sights and he is looking to hang up his boots next year so he and his wife can be closer to his pregnant daughter Hannah, who lives in Chelmsford, Essex.
However the reverend, who also writes poetry anthologies and plays, has no intention of slowing down before then.
He said: "The schools keep me going as I do deliver four assemblies a week, but I'm going to work right down to the wire and then I'll have a big party.
"I'm going to live the life of a writer - write a 1,000 words in the morning, go out in the afternoon, and then entertain in the evening. I am looking very positively towards retirement."