A PRIEST in charge of three churches in the Ribble Valley is set to stand down in September.

Canon Rodney Nicholson, 68, has announced his intention to retire and is due to officially write to the diocese in June.

Canon Nicholson has been in charge of St Paul’s church in Clitheroe for 24 years and also took on St Leonard’s in Downham and Christ Church in Chatburn 11 years ago.

Born and bred in Lancaster, he attended Lancaster Grammar School before reading classics at Oxford. After university he taught in Birmingham for a year before attending Ridley College Cambridge and entered the ministry.

His first role was as curate at St Bartholomew’s in Colne before moving to take on the same role at St John’s church in Blackpool for three years.

Before moving to Clitheroe, he was priest in charge at St Bartholomew’s in Ewood, Blackburn, for 11 years.

Alongside running three parishes, Canon Nicholson, who lives in Clitheroe, serves as the chair of governors at Chatburn Primary School and is also involved with Edisford Primary School in Clitheroe.

He was made a canon at Blackburn Cathedral in 2006 and is now planning to relocate to Pocklington near York to be closer to his family.

Canon Nicholson, who has two children, said: “I have enjoyed my time in the Ribble Valley hugely and being part of three churches has been a pleasure.

“It has been great to get to know three distance communities and it has been wonderful working with some great people over the years.

“I’ve seen the churches grow and grow but now it’s time for a change and for a new ministry to take over.

“I think that I have been helpful to one or two people over the years in their journey of faith and I’m proud of my role.

“I hope that I have made a difference and I’m glad that I have been involved in raising a lot of money for Christian Aid over the years.”