Miliband and Lineker join Rabbi Bayfield tribute

By Simon Rocker, March 17, 2011
Rabbi Tony Bayfield

Rabbi Tony Bayfield

The achievements of Rabbi Tony Bayfield were toasted by more than 200 people at a party at a Mayfair club to mark his recent retirement as head of the Reform movement.

Guest salutes also came in a video featuring, among others, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, David Miliband, John Humphrys and Avram Grant.

Rabbi Bayfield, who stepped down at the end of last year, will continue representing the movement in the honorary role of president.

Reform chairman Stephen Moss told the gathering, which included Rabbi Bayfield's parents, that he had brought Reform Judaism in "from the margins to the responsible and proud position it holds today in the mainstream of the British Jewish community".

Rabbi Bayfield had also "played an important role on the world Jewish stage and has made a major difference to the level of co-operation between all the religious movements in the British community".

On video, Mr Miliband said the rabbi had been a "wise counsel" and an "important sounding board". He added: "I don't think we have heard the last of Tony Bayfield." Chief Rabbi Sacks thanked him for his contribution to the community.

The final word on video went to Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker who, wishing Rabbi Bayfield a long and happy retirement, added: "I hope watching West Ham doesn't spoil it too much."

Last updated: 12:41pm, March 17 2011