One of the area's longest-serving clergymen, Canon Gwynne Richardson, has died after losing a battle with cancer.

Canon Richardson, who retired in 2005, had been ill for some time and receiving treatment, but still had the Arch Bishop's permission to officiate at services.

He was still active in local churches until April when he went into hospital but he died last week in Osborne House in Selby.

Being ordained in the mid-60s, Canon Richardson served in a parish in the North East of England. He came to Selby in 1978 as part of a team ministry and was chaplain at the Selby coalfield.

In 1992 he was appointed Rector of churches in Monk Fryston and South Milford until his retirement.

While in Selby he was appointed Rural Dean of Selby and was a Canon of York Minster.

A community person, he was a member of Selby Rotary Club, involved with the Selby College, and was manager and secretary of Brayton junior football team serving on the committee of the Charles Rice Football League.

His eldest son Aidan said he loved cricket, and had played for Chester-le-Street in the Durham League.

While in Selby Canon Richardson played cricket for Selby Londesborough and Burn, playing into his mid-forties as a forceful batsman. The Rural Dean of Selby, the Rev Chris Wilton, said: “Gwynne was the kindest and most gentle man I have known. He was very supportive of the clergy and worked very hard in his position of coalfield chaplain.

The Rector of St Wilfrid’s Church in Brayton, the Rev Pete Watson said: “I first met Gwynne when I arrived in the parish nearly five years ago and he welcomed me warmly and has been a wonderful ongoing support and encouragement.

"A man inspired by his deep Christian faith with kindness and love he showed to everyone. The congregation of the parish have valued hugely his ministry in retirement. His loss will be felt greatly, not forgetting his wonderful sense of humour and his wit which were a breath of fresh air. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time."

Canon Richardson he leaves his wife Barbara, sons Aidan and Chris and five grandchildren.

His funeral is at St Wilfrid’s Church, Brayton, next Thursday at 2.30pm followed by cremation at York.