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Sudbury rector Rev Canon Cheryl Collins sad to be leaving St Gregory's and All Saints' churches

A rector has spoken of her difficult decision to retire as a priest at two churches.

The Rev Canon Cheryl Collins made the decision to retire from her roles at St Gregory’s Church and All Saints’ Church, Sudbury, this month.

She became rector at St Gregory’s in 2016 and later priest-in-charge at All Saints’ Church in 2019 as part of a dual role.

A rare health condition has forced Rev Canon Collins to retire early.

Rev Canon Cheryl Collins at St Gregory's Church. Picture by Mecha Morton
Rev Canon Cheryl Collins at St Gregory's Church. Picture by Mecha Morton

“It was a very difficult, and heartbreaking decision to make as I have loved my time in Sudbury in many ways,” she said.

“I have a condition called idiopathic intracranial hypertension, which means I have increasingly started to suffer from fatigue and headaches, despite surgery several years ago.

“I have found combining work and my personal life very difficult recently as my energy levels aren’t what they were.

“My mother was also diagnosed with dementia last year. She is 90 and I would like to spend more time with her.

Sadly, I am not allowed to live in the parishes where I ministered so am moving to Sheffield, where I started my career in the church.

"It was a very painful decision to make and I am very sad to be leaving.”

Canon Collins was originally one of the Church of England’s Women of ‘94. This means she was one of the first women to be ordained and has been the first woman to hold a number of ministerial positions since.

This month, curate the Rev Tom Mumford also announced he was leaving St Gregory’s, having completed his apprenticeship there. He will be moving to St Mary-le-Tower in Ipswich.

The Rev Chris Eyden will lead services temporarily at St Gregory’s from September, when Canon Collins retires. She said:

It has been a privilege to serve in Sudbury and I am sad to have had to make this decision as it is a beautiful town with lovely people, who have all been incredibly kind, thoughtful and supportive at this time

Rev Canon Collins hopes her legacy will live on through the churchs' heritage project to explore ideas to pay homage to the Archbishop Simon of Sudbury, who was beheaded during the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381.

The church has also plans to fund a qualified parish nurse who can help out in the community to support for the NHS.

"I hope both of these can continue," said Rev Canon Collins.

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