FATHER Patrick Bourke has served in the North West throughout his career - and is now celebrating 40 years as a priest right here in Hyndburn.
After almost 21 years at St Mary's RC Church, Oswaldtwistle, Father Bourke enjoyed an honorary mass last Monday, when he was joined by 10 other priests in a church bursting at the seams with parishioners.
Originally from Carrick-on-Suir in Southern Ireland, Father Bourke began his career in Little Hulton, near Westmere, before moving to a church in Bolton for the following 18 years.
In 1984 he moved to Oswaldtwistle and says he has loved every minute of it.
He said: "The parishioners at St Mary's are absolutely wonderful, I have really done my best for them and in turn they have always been very supportive.
"I visited the school last Tuesday and it made me smile to think I had baptised most of the children, confirmed them and carried out their first Holy Communions, as well as married some of their parents."
Father Bourke studied in Ireland until he was 23 but after a college friend introduced him to the Bishop of Salford he decided to move to England.
A close friend, Father Patrick Cooney, who practices at a parish in Ireland, is also celebrating his 40th jubilee this week, and Father Bourke is taking a trip to Ireland to commemorate the achievement.
Father Bourke enjoys visiting friends and rides out to the countryside, as well as relaxing with classical music.
He says that when he eventually retires he will move back to Ireland.
He said: "The years have flown by and as you get older they seem to gallop, but I am very happy here and have enjoyed many wonderful years at St Mary's."