Our Vicar, Canon Philip Gray, once said this of his colleague Canon Bernard Gribbin: 'Bernard brings a great wealth of experience, wisdom and love to our church.' And a 20-strong party of visitors who followed the retired priest on a recent lecture tour of the 138-year-old church will say 'Amen' to that seal of approval. 

Fr Bernard, who recently revised a short guide to the church, is well stocked with nuggets of wisdom. After his torch had captured the presence of a Green Man on a pillar, he explained that the distorted face featured in many churches from about the 10th century to the present day shows us that we and the natural world are inextricably linked. 

From then on a miscellany of fascinating facts tumbled from the expert's lips. Built in quick time --  18 months -- St Margaret's had cost £15000 (equivalent to over £16m now) he said. 

Its architect was Sir Norman Shaw, who later designed New Scotland Yard in London. 'There's a stunning Reredos, a remarkable modern "Madonna of the Moors" painting by our parishioner and renowned painter, Graeme Willson, who also designed the glass doors which were installed in 2007,' he said. Another of the church's treasures is the acclaimed William Hill organ installed in 1901. 

Finally, the tour ended with Fr Bernard pointing to the fine set of Stations of the Cross with the revelation that they were given to St Margaret's by four families whose children were pupils at St Hilda's Sneaton Castle School in Whitby in thanksgiving for the safe return of their children from Canada, where they had been evacuated during the Second World War.

Ever keen to share his wonderful knowledge of St Margaret's treasure trove, Fr Bernard is willing to conduct interested parties of 20 or so around the church if the demand is there.

Mike Casey