A CLERGY couple are leaving Keighley after 18 years in the area.

The Reverends Mike and Elspeth Cansdale are taking up new appointments in Scarborough.

'Farewell' services for Keighley team rector Mike and Oxenhope curate Elspeth are being held on Sunday (June 23).

"For 18 years we have been deeply rooted in Keighley and we love this town and its people," says Mike, who became team rector in 2016 when four churches joined to form a single parish.

"Keighley will always hold a special place in our hearts.

"However, since last summer, it has felt that God has been preparing us for something new together."

Elspeth, who became curate at Oxenhope in 2020 and has led the church on her own since January, says: "This has not been an easy or quick decision, but the churches we have been appointed to in Scarborough are in neighbouring parishes and feel to be a good fit for the gifts and skills we bring."

Mike will be vicar of St Luke's Scarborough and St Mark's Newby, and Elspeth will be vicar of St Columba and St James.

Tribute has been paid to the couple.

Bishop of Bradford, the Right Rev Dr Toby Howarth, says: "I deeply appreciate all that Mike and Elspeth have given to the churches of our area over many years."

Elspeth's final service at St Mary's, Oxenhope, is at 10am on Sunday, and for Mike there is a whole-parish joint service at St Andrew's Church, Church Green, Keighley, at 10.45am.

Everyone is welcome.