A FAMILY has bid Ilkley a fond 'auf wiedersehen'.

After six years in the town Olaf Beyersdorff has returned to his homeland of Germany with his wife, Iris, and their two boys to take up a prestigious position in the city of Jena.

Following a long spell at Leeds University Mr Beyersdorff has now become the Professor of Theoretical Computer Science at Friedrich Schiller University.

Delighted with his new appointment, the 44 year old said he was nevertheless sad to leave his Yorkshire home where the family had built a strong connection with St Margaret's Church.

He said: "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.

"But it was an offer I couldn't refuse so I really had no option but to take it and uproot the family.

"After our six-year relationship with the Church of England in Ilkley we're returning to the Lutheranism which played a big role in my life until I came to England."

The Vicar of St Margaret's, Canon Philip Gray, added: "Olaf and Iris and their children Malte, 13 - who attended the Grammar School - and Heinrich, who celebrated his eleventh birthday this week and was due to start at the school next month following four years at Ashlands Primary, have become very much-loved members of St Margaret's.

"They have made a huge contribution to the life of our church and community and he 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!"

The family were presented with a cheque and a painting as they said their farewells to the church and its congregation.