A WINCHESTER priest has celebrated 50 years of his ordainment with parishioners at St Cross.

A special service to mark the occasion was held for Reverend Reg Sweet, the master of St Cross, and attended by the former master, Michael Harley, now the Archdeacon of Winchester, and Canon Andi Hofbauer of Wakefield Cathedral.

Rev Sweet was also joined by officials from his formative naval years including vice admiral Sir Charles Montgomery, second sea lord and commodore Bill Walworth RFA, as well as the Brothers and trustees of the hospital.

This was followed by a reception in the 500-year-old Brethren’s Hall.

Former churchwarden, John Casson, said: “How privileged we were when in 1999 when Reg was invited to come to St Cross. His experience enables him to start sermons with memorable lines such as ‘I’ve only been held under close arrest once in my life…’ and to test our understanding of the 24 hour clock and naval terms such as dogwatches.

“He can also provide wedding blessings in Russian and is an expert bingo caller. So far, though, he has not indulged us with his taste in sea shanties.”

Rev Sweet previously worked as the Chaplain in the Royal Navy for nearly 25 years before becoming the senior chaplain to the Mission of Seamen.

He also serves the Honourable Company of Master Mariners, the Anchorites, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Association, Solent Branch, and as Chairman of the Mission to Seafarers in Winchester.