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Reverden Mike Vipond, Deacon of Framlingham, awarded for more than 30 years of church service





A former rugby-playing Suffolk minister has been honoured for serving his church community for more than three decades.

The Rev Mike Vipond, deacon for the parish of Framlingham, spent nine seasons at Saracens Rugby Club in the 1960s, when he played as a number eight or second row, before an injury forced him to stop.

After initially moving into teaching, he has since clocked up more than 33 years service in the church – an achievement that has earned him the rare honour of being awarded the East Anglia Diocesan Medal.

Reverend Mike Vipond who has received the East Anglia Diocesan Medal by the Diocese of East Anglia. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Reverend Mike Vipond who has received the East Anglia Diocesan Medal by the Diocese of East Anglia. Picture: Mark Bullimore

The father-of-two, who was presented with the accolade by Peter Collins, the Bishop of East Anglia, during a service at St Clare’s Church in Framlingham, said the award was as much for the local community as it was for him.

“They are the ones that do the hard work and are such a great bunch to work with,” he told the Diss Express. “The way I look at it, the medal is for them for putting up with me for 33 years.”

Before moving to Suffolk, Mr Vipond was headteacher at St Joseph’s Primary School in Walthamstow, in east London.

Reverend Mike Vipond who has received the East Anglia Diocesan Medal by the Diocese of East Anglia. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Reverend Mike Vipond who has received the East Anglia Diocesan Medal by the Diocese of East Anglia. Picture: Mark Bullimore

He moved to Suffolk with his wife, Ann, in 1979 to work at Framlingham College Junior School.

Having been ordained in 1991, he spent more than 20 years – alongside his church position – as a sessional chaplain at Hollesley Bay and Warren Hill prisons.

A former governor at Sir Robert Hitcham’s Primary School, Mr Vipond remains actively involved in the Framlingham Churches Together group.

Asked what it was about the town that had made him stay for so long, the grandfather-of-three said: “People get on, support one another and really try to love one another.

“I feel they show that there is room for everybody in Framlingham, and everyone is valued for something, which is great.”

Mr Vipond, who retains a love for rugby from his playing days, said retirement was not in his mind, despite his advancing years.

“I would just like to thank the community for all of their support over the years and I hope we can continue to work together in the future,” he added.



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