The Bishop of Barking is retiring after four decades of ordained service.

For the last 11 years Right Reverend David Hawkins has covered Barking & Dagenham, Epping Forest, Harlow, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest.

A farewell service was held for him at Chelmsford Cathedral on Saturday.

The Bishop who will retire on his 65th birthday said: “I am grateful for the many opportunities I have had to serve in the Church of England, the Church of Kenya and the Church of Nigeria over the past 40 years.

“It has been as important to me to support the rural and farming communities of Essex as the suburbs and large estates of the large urban expanse of east London.”

Bishop Hawkins who officially retires on March 30 was thanked for his work at a ‘Songs of Praise’ style event.

The Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell said: “Many people have discovered the good news of Christ because of Bishop David’s ministry.

"His creativity has inspired others to express their own Christian faith in creative ways.”