A parish priest who has retired after 40 years in the priesthood received an emotional send-off from his flock, as well as a Papal Blessing.
Ribchester’s Father David Foster’s final Sunday Mass at St Peter and St Paul’s RC Church was on Easter Sunday, which was followed by a special Jacob’s join luncheon in the parish centre.
Fr Foster is retiring to his home village of Clayton-le -Moors and was presented with a large Missal by parishioners.
One of his former pupils gave him a carved stand for the Missal and he also received a Papal Blessing.
He has served the parish for three years and is retiring at the age of 67 due to increasing mobility problems.
He said:“I’m hoping to relax, take things easy and grow in strength.”
The priest, a keen Blackburn Rovers supporter, paid tribute to “the friendliness of the people and the great way they have run the parish”, saying he wished he had been fit enough to stay longer.
The Lancastrian attended primary school in Clayton- le-Moors and went on to St Mary’s College, Blackburn, before studying for a maths degree at the then newly opened Salford University.
He worked for a short time in operational research at Philips (Mullard’s) in Blackburn before pursuing his vocation.
Fr Foster’s housekeeper, Dorothy Whittle, is also leaving the parish and will continue to work as his carer.
Hailing from Nelson, she has worked as a priest’s housekeeper for 43 years. She was presented with a bumper bouquet by parishioners.