Farewell to the Beyersdorff Family

After six happy years with his family in Ilkley Olaf Beyersdorff has returned to his homeland  with his wife Iris and their two boys to take up a prestigious position in Jena.

Following a long spell at Leeds University he is now Professor of  Theoretical Computer Science at Friedrich Schiller University. However, delighted with this huge step up the career ladder, the tall, taciturn 44-year-old admits that his promotion has come at a price.

'It means we are leaving many, many friends behind and it has cost us the rich advantage of living in an unbelievably beautiful part of Yorkshire,' he says. 'But it was an offer I couldn't refuse so I really had no option but to take it and uproot the family.'

However, he knows the family will keenly miss their close involvement with St Margaret's Church. 'After our six-year relationship with the Church of England in Ilkley from next week onwards we'll return to the Lutheranism which played a big role in my life until I came to England,' he said.

Fr Philip has revealed how sorry he and his parishioners were when they heard the popular family were leaving England.

 'Olaf and Iris and their children, Malte, 13, who attended the Grammar School, and Heinrich, who celebrated his 11th birthday this week and was due to start at the Grammar School next month following four years at Ashlands, have become very much-loved members of St Margaret's and have made a huge contribution to the life of our church and community.

'The boys have become very accomplished altar servers and are growing up into very mature young people. Their parents have been particularly important to us in the work they have freely done with our Church finances -- Olaf as Treasurer and Iris as our bookkeeper.

'They have been wonderfully efficient and shared our vision for St Margaret's. I know our choir will also miss Iris dreadfully as she has been part of the alto line.

'Above all else we have come to love them for their kindness, thoughtfulness and faithfulness. There is going be a very lucky church in Germany who receive them!'

Mike Casey