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Farewell Alex

Tim Lowe

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Alex SandersMellor ChurchExeter UniversityNick Sanders

Alex Sanders, the first female vicar in the long history of Mellor Church has now retired to spend more time with her family and the wonderful send off that she was given showed how much she had won the hearts of the people of Mellor.

Her early education gave her life skills but an unlikely route to the clergy as she took a degree in politics at Exeter University. It was in Devon that she met the Naval Officer, Nick Sanders who she was to marry. She had a range of work experience in the south-west with military organisations and charities but all underpinned by a desire to help others.

With two young children she and her husband lived for a time in the Falkland Islands where Nick was appointed Senior Magistrate. On the return home Nick’s work took the family to Cheshire as he became a District Judge in Chester.

It was here that Alex was persuaded to become a Vicar and she took a Masters in Pastoral Theology at Leeds University before being ordained.

Following a spell as a curate in Tarporley she was appointed as Vicar of St Thomas’ Church, Mellor in 2016.

Following her appointment there was inevitably renewed interest in the television comedy series ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ and like the female fictional vicar, Alex had to work hard to convince some parishioners that the changes in the Church of England were sound. The measure of her success was the full pews in Mellor Church as numbers in church congregations fall across the country.

The emotional skills required by a vicar are very demanding and Alex’s ability to make every individual at weddings and funerals feel like a friend won her the respect of the whole community.

As a lover of animals, crosswords and music, Alex will have much to fill her time as well as being more readily available to support her daughters. 

Before her January departure many events were held to thank Alex for all she had done for Mellor Church and its parishioners and a filmed tribute can be found on You Tube.

There will now be a period of a few months awaiting the appointment of a new vicar who will have a hard act to follow.