THE former Archdeacon of York, George Austin, has died.

In a statement, St Luke's Parish Church, said that he died at his home in Hertfordshire on January 30 at the age of 87.

Mr Austin succeeded the Ven Leslie Stanbridge as Archdeacon of York, serving between 1988 and 1999, before retiring and choosing St Luke's Parish in Burton Stone Lane as his 'home church' until 2009.

During his time as Archdeacon he became a controversial figure for his traditionalist views.

He was a fierce opponent of the ordination of women, and condemned the church for taking too liberal a line on homosexuality and once criticised the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Runcie, for failing to take a moral lead.

Martin Sheppard, Reader at St Luke’s Church in York, said, said: “George and his wife Bobbie were part of St Luke's Congregation from his retirement as Archdeacon of York until they left in 2009, and they are both very well remembered in the church.

“Many people here were saddened to hear the news of George Austin’s death; he chose St Luke’s as his home church for ten years in retirement not because everyone agreed with him, but because we could live with difference.

"We were sorry to say goodbye to George and Bobbie as members of our church family, and people with a strong Christian faith who shared our journey.”

Mr Austin moved to Bushey Heath in 2009 to be close to his son Jeremy and his young family.

His wife Bobbie died in 2016 and George moved into a care home for the last couple of years of his life.