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Popular East Lancashire priest, 80, steps down
A POPULAR priest has retired after serving parishes in Briercliffe and Ribble Valley for 55 years.
Canon Peter Hallam, 80, has married hundreds of couples, provided emotional support to scores of sick and bereaved parishioners and helped with the running of numerous community organisations since he found his calling.
Canon Hallam joined St James’s Church in Briercliffe as assistant curate in 1967, at the age of 25, after serving two years in the army as part of his National Service, studying at university and serving at another parish since 1958.
In 1998, the priest took a back seat in the clergy, and began assisting the vicar in the parish of Chipping and Whitewell, a role he has given up for his retirement.
The Rev Graham Sawyer led a celebration of his friend’s life’s work on Sunday, attended by 150 well-wishers. Canon Hallam said: “The celebration was very moving and I was very grateful. It was delightful. I saw people I hadn’t seen for years. It was lovely.”
Mr Sawyer said: “He is a wonderful and dedicated man and I can only try and follow his example.”
Canon Hallam said he found his way to this vocation through guidance from Army chaplains after growing up in a Christian household.
Discussing the highlights of his time in the church, he described his part in the battle to get St James Lanehead CfE Primary School built, a move he considers very important to the town.
Canon Hallam married a parishioner in 2002, having been too busy with his work to think about finding a partner before then.
He said: “My wife is a supportive and caring woman and I’m really going to enjoy my retirement. We will now be able to go away, which we haven’t been able to before, especially at the weekends. We enjoy hill-walking, and will be doing that. Though I’ll never be too far away to be reached if I’m needed.”
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