Burton-in-Lonsdale Methodist Church was packed for a visit by the Rev Dr Mark Wakelin, president of Methodist Conference.

Congregations came from the Anglican Church in Burton and Methodist churches in Hellifield, Rathmell, Settle, Newby, Westhouse, Bentham and Ingleton.

The visit was arranged by Dr Wakelin’s father-in-law, 92-year-old John Robinson, who lives locally. Mr Robinson is undergoing treatment at hospital, but was allowed out for this special occasion.

The Chairman of the District, the Rev Roger Walton, also attended and the two church leaders presented long service awards to Methodist local preachers Martha Bainbridge, of Bentham, who has been preaching since 1943, and Maurice Walters, of Giggleswick, who has been preaching since 1963.

Dr Wakelin said “One of the things I do as president is to recognise all the work people do as they go around their daily business as Christians in their communities – it is often not recognised.”

Also taking part in the service were The Revs Stephen Normanton and Bryan Yardy, ministers of the Settle Methodist Circuit, and organist was John Lewis, of St John’s Church, Settle.