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THE BISHOP of Burnley John Goddard has been given a unique honour by the ruling General Synod of the Church of England.

He became the first ‘Suffragan’ or deputy Bishop ever to receive an ‘Archbishop’s Farewell Address’ at the York gathering.

Normally they are reserved for full Diocesan Bishops, but Archbishop of York John Sentamu broke with tradition to honour the Rt Rev.Goddard who retires this month.

Following a summary of Bishop John’s career, peppered with a series of amusing anecdotes, the Archbishop went on to pay fulsome tribute.

He said: “Bishop John has always identified with those in poverty in the most deprived areas of our society.

“He has been an inspiration. He has always spelt out, and lived out, the social and economic implications of the Gospel.

“During the Burnley riots in 2001, the newly-appointed bishop received death threats as he explored the causes of the unrest.

“Despite the intimidation Bishop John took on a role within a task force to investigate the cause of the riots and improve inter-faith relationships in the town – an achievement he is rightly proud of.”

Bishop John said: “I was gobsmacked, it was an amazing occasion.

“The Archbishop spoke so warmly, and it absolutely made me feel, well I was choked.

“There was a great round of applause afterward with all my fellow bishops, and members of the synod.

“It was amazing, I was absolutely knocked for six.”

The bishop’s retirement service takes place at Blackburn Cathedral this Saturday, at 11am. The event is not ticketed and all are welcome to attend.