A COUPLE described as 'the caring heart' of a Caversham church are stepping down after 35 years.

There was a special service at Grace Church on May 4 to mark Derek Medd’s resignation as an elder.

He and his wide Linda have helped a number of people through difficult times since arriving at the church in 1984.

In that time, the kind-hearted duo have run a Sunday school, a bible study group for teenagers, a house group and children’s holiday clubs.

Mr Medd has also helped to find no fewer than six new pastors for Grace Church, including, Keith Saynor, who was appointed last year.

Dave Steed, another church elder, thanked them for all the time and care they had offered over the years.

He said: “At times of anyone’s distress, illness or redundancy, Derek and Linda have always been there at the end of the phone.”

Although he will no longer be serving as an elder, he and Linda are not intending to bow out completely.

They will be part of a new pastoral care team and Linda will continue to play the piano for church services, something she has been doing since she was 12.