The Rev Dr Jack Richardson MBE has retired as a Presbyterian Chaplain at Lagan Valley Hospital in Lisburn after 28 years of service.
A ceremony was held earlier this week, at the Lagan Valley Hospital organised by the South Eastern Trust.
Many expression of thanks and good wishes were expressed on behalf of the Trust, fellow chaplains, and Dromore Presbytery.
Dr Richardson spoke of how he became interested in ministry to the sick and their families.
This was through his only sibling - his sister - who was one and half years older than himself - who had received a brain injury at birth and as a result was physically and mentally disabled.
Visiting her in the many hospitals where she had been a patient, he realised the value of supporting both patients and their families.
While training for the ministry, he took advantage of a residential hospital chaplaincy course at King Edward Hospital in London and this proved invaluable to him throughout his ministry and as chaplain at Lagan Valley.
He spoke of how warmly, he had been received both patients and staff.
Never once during his 28 years had he encountered discourtesy, but always the warmest acceptance and co-operation. He expressed his deep appreciation of all medical, nursing, administrative, catering, portering, and cleaning staff without whose help his ministry at times would have proved challenging.
He referred to the lasting friendships he had had with fellow chaplains and how enriching those friendships had been.
Whilst he will miss his contact with the hospital he is looking forward to spending more time with his family and developing interests of hill walking, piano and organ playing as well as reading.
He said he would leave Lagan Valley Hospital with many great memories.
Referring to the hospital, Dr Richardson said, “I have received a lot more than I have ever given.”