REVEREND Nicky Davies is bidding farewell to the communities that she has served during her time with Avon Valley Churches.

She has been appointed the new Team Vicar for the Axe Valley Mission Community.

Nicky is currently an Associate Priest with Avon Valley Churches. Her licensing will take place on August 11 in the Minster Church, Axminster, Devon. It will be conducted by the Bishop of Crediton, the Right Reverend Jackie Searle.

Reflecting on her time with Avon Valley Churches and serving the local community, she said: “I have loved every moment. It is a privilege to be alongside people at some of the most joyous and sad, pivotal moments of their lives. It is wonderful to be able to point to God in these events and to offer a sense of hope and the reality of God’s love that is there for everyone, if they should choose to want it...”

Nicky was ordained as a Deacon in 2014 and then a year later was ordained as a priest.

She became an associate priest with Avon Valley Churches about two-and-a-half years ago after working as a volunteer priest. She is licensed to work across the seven churches but took particular responsibility for Hale, Woodgreen and Breamore.

“I feel very sad to be leaving. My sense of calling to a vocation in the church really came to fruition being part of the worshipping and wider community here in Hale and Woodgreen. I felt very loved, encouraged and supported by people here and that was very enabling. It meant I felt able to go forward with confidence and joy,” she added.

“I will miss everyone in the churches and people from the wider communities. We are like a big family. Because we’ve lived in Woodgreen for 26 years, a long time, we know each other very well. There is a big sense of loss and sadness about me moving on. I am sad that in the short term, anyway, there won’t be a local presence here in the same way as living in the community provides.”

“It’s been so helpful to be able to forge good working relationships with parish council members, village hall committees and with people from other local organisations. My vision is of a church at the heart of the community and it’s been very good lately to be part of the Hale and Woodgreen Support Group set-up to help villagers in need during this Covid-19 outbreak.”

Nicky previously trained as a journalist on the Andover Advertiser and has worked on a number of publications for various dioceses.

This includes forWinchester Diocese’s Winchester Way newspaper, later becoming editor of Salisbury Diocese’s Sarum Link. Before starting her ordination training she did work for the Exeter Diocese and continued after her training as a publications officer, which she stopped earlier this year.

Some of her highlights during her time with Avon Valley Churches have included Hale Summer Holiday Club, which Nicky helped take over the running of about 15 years ago.

“It is just wonderful to connect with the children every summer there. I know from their reactions that they love it. It is just a very special time. That is one of my proudest achievements and a real highlight,” she continued.

“I really love working in our schools and working with our children. Doing assemblies and leading classes on RE. I really love that part of the work.

“Being able to lead worship is a real highlight and privilege. I’m very lucky.”

Nicky’s other proud achievements have included setting up a Traidcraft group, working toward making Fordingbridge a Fairtrade Town and helping set up a recycling centre at St Boniface in Woodgreen as well as having oversight of her three churches in Hale, Woodgreen and Breamore. even donned a banana costume during events to promote Fairtrade.

Her final service will be held today (Sunday July 26).