A reverend is set to retire after more than 30 years at a church.
Rev Neville Ashton has been the rector at St James’ Church Kirk since May 1984 and will retire after his final communion service this weekend.
The 69-year-old, who turns 70 on Tuesday, said he has ‘thoroughly enjoyed’ his time in the parish and plans to retire in Hyndburn.
He said: “It’s the people who make the place. I had some very good times and memories, and also some sad ones, but on the whole I have enjoyed it thoroughly.
“I have baptised children here who are now grown up and come with their children. I have seen and know a lot of people.
“Things have changed over the years. When I first came everybody knew everybody and it was a real community. People lived in the same house for donkey’s years and their parents before them.
“Nowadays populations are more transient and people stay in the area for a few years. I don’t know some people as much as I did when I first came.
“I have made friends here and I want to stay in the area after I retire.”
Rev Ashton, who was the chairman of governors at St Nicholas’ CE primary school in Church for nearly 30 years before standing down last year, was ordained in 1980 and previously served in Hattersley and Lancaster.
He added: “The building is quite old and over the years needed major repairs including the roof, eradicating dry rot. Before you know it 30 years have passed.”
Rev Ashton has also led parishioners on an annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walshingham in Norfolk since 1985.
He said: “This year will be our 30th year. That’s been a good thing and we have had some good social and spiritual times.”
A communion service will be held on Sunday, February 15 starting at 10.45am.
Parishioner Harold Scholes, from Accrington, has been attending the church for nearly 25 years.
He said: “We are hoping for people with connections past and present to come along and show their gratitude for his dedication to the Parish.
“We are hoping for a full house and to give him the really good send off he deserves.”