PARISHIONERS packed a local church to say a fond farewell to their priest after 14 years of service, writes Drew Cochrane.
Loud applause rang round St Mary, Star of The Sea RC Church as Father Eamonn Flynn bid an emotional farewell.
However, Fr. Flynn, who has been a Catholic priest for 52 years, told the congregation that he loved Largs so much that he would stay in the town in his retirement - and would be available to say Mass from time to time.
Monsignor Peter Magee, who has succeeded him as parish priest, said Fr. Flynn had been his teacher of religious education at the former St Michael's Academy in Kilwinning and had helped inspire him to join the priesthood.
Referring to Fr Flynn's 14 years in the town, Monsignor Magee said: "Biblically, seven years is perfection.
"You have doubled it.
"It has been a privilege having your ministry and the way you dealt with people with love, good humour and sensitivity.
"May God bless you and may you be healthy and happy.
"You can be reassured that I'll be asking you back from time to time."
Fr Flynn was ordained as a priest at Carlow Cathedral in Ireland in June 1966 and came to Scotland to serve at parishes in Kilwinning, Ayr, Stevenston, Dalry, Irvine and Saltcoats before arriving at St Mary's in 2004.
The Parish Council say he has been a great asset in the community, an excellent parish priest and a strong pastoral leader.
In recent years he had helped drive several projects, including the new church hall, a new heating system and modern sound system for the church.
During his celebratory Mass Fr Flynn thanked the parishioners for their daily support and praised his 'beloved housekeeper' Avril Baker, saying: "I will be lost without her."
He pointed out that he had only moved a few hundred yards away from the seafront chapel but was surrounded by boxes and black bin bags and 'can't find anything'.
He added: "Your health is your best friend.
"Remember, it's better to be over the hill than under it."
After the service, the new church hall was packed as Mr Roger Townley, chairman of the Parish Council presented a cheque to Fr Flynn who cut a retirement cake.