THE session clerk at Athelstaneford Parish Church has stepped down after nearly three decades in the role.

Emily Armatage, of Haddington’s Victoria Park, retired from the post and handed over the duties to Helen Napier on the Sunday before Christmas.

Mrs Armatage was appointed session clerk in January, 1988, and paid tribute to the efforts of all those involved during her near 28 years in the position.

She said: “For most of that time my minister was the Rev Kenneth Walker, who kept me on the right track with what was required being the session clerk.

“Veronica [Mr Walker’s wife] was there too helping me along the way.”

She also thanked the church’s current minister the Rev Joanne Evans-Boiten for all her assistance.

Then, on Sunday, she was presented with a special card, signed by members of the congregation, a cake, bouquet of flowers and “a generous monetary gift”.

Mrs Armatage, who stepped down as Haddington and District Community Council’s treasurer earlier this year, told the Courier she was “surprised and touched” at the messages in the card.

She added: “Both Helen and I will have a bit of re-adjusting to do over the coming months but I am sure that Joanne and the present day members and elders will continue to make Athelstaneford the friendly welcoming church it has always been to me.”