A VICAR who has served churches in Darwen and Tockholes for a decade will retire next month.

Rev Douglas Moore will host his final service in the parish of Darwen St Cuthbert’s with Tockholes St Stephen’s on September 29.

Rev Moore, 65, came to Darwen from the parish of Mickleford with Aberford, in Leeds, in 2004.

It was the first time the former teacher, who was born in Northern Ireland, had ever heard of the town.

He said: “I am one of those they describe as a traditionalist and I was looking for a parish that would fit with that.

“I spoke to the Bishop of Beverley and he said this was one of those parishes and that there was a vacancy.

“At the time I had never even heard of a Darwen in England, although of course I had heard of Blackburn.”

Rev Moore studied at Bristol University and spent 15 years teaching, but said it was in the final five years he felt the ‘call to God’.

In 1987 he left teaching and went to theological college before taking up his first post as a curate in Hessle, near Hull, before moving to Mickleford with Aberford in 1993.

He said: “I liked Darwen straight away and the parish, which includes the church in Tockholes, has a nice combination of countryside and town.

“The people were friendly and I was very impressed with the big church.

“There were many things that immediately drew me here and people were happy to have me.”

Rev Moore said he would miss the people of the parish when he retired to live in Whitby with wife Christine.

He said: “Every time you move as a priest you make friends and you lose those connections to an extent.The clergy are not advised to retire near to their parish as it can unsettle their successor.”

Rev Moore said upon retirement he will continue to work with his new church to help out when necessary, but also hopes to brush up on his golf skills and enjoy holidays with his wife.

His final service on September 29 will be the Michaelmas at St Cuthbert’s Church and he hopes parishioners from Tockholes will attend to say farewell.