PARISHIONERS at a Neilston church have said farewell to their popular minister, after years of dedicated service.

The Reverend Fiona Maxwell is moving on from Neilston Parish Church to take up a new post in Kilmarnock.

She left the Church on Thursday for her induction to the charge of Kay Parish Church.

It has been an eventful and very memorable time for Fiona, who was a minister in Clydebank for eight years before coming to Neilston – a place she didn’t know at all.

Since then, she has been a constant presence in the community, officiating at events, organising projects and providing comfort to people in their time of need.

Fiona told the Barrhead News: “It is a privilege as a parish minister to share in the good, bad and ordinary times of life.

“During my time here, there have sadly been many funerals but, even in the midst of the sadness, there is something precious in being alongside people and sharing with them.

“People need to know they are loved and cared for.”

Thinking back over her favourite memories from her time in Neilston, she added: “It was an honour to conduct the dedication for the new war memorial in the village. Many people worked tirelessly to make this vision a reality.

“Another highlight has been involvement in Neilston Primary School and other associated opportunities to work with young people.”

Fiona has expressed her gratitude to members of the church and the community in Neilston for allowing her to share some of the most significant moments of their lives.

She added: “I think there is a real need to foster a spirit of hope in our communities and families. If the church, in partnership with other groups, can do this, then it is making a real difference.”

“I wish everyone in Neilston and the surrounding environs strength for today and hope for tomorrow.”

Councillor Paul O’Kane, who represents Neilston and Newton Mearns North, is among those who have thanked the departing minister for her efforts and wished her well for the future.

He said: “It has been such a great pleasure to work in partnership with Fiona over her five and a half years in Neilston.

“She has always been the first to support community initiatives, from our new war memorial to the Christmas lights switch-on and from collecting for refugees to highlighting the plight of people in Syria.

“Fiona has been a huge support to me and I’m proud to call her my friend."