A WELL-known priest is celebrating his ‘Diamond Jubilee’ this year.

The Rev Brian Stevenson, 78, who has served communities across East Lancashire, is marking his 60th year preaching, alongside the Queen’s own landmark.

The former magistrate and councillor, who has lived in Great Harwood for the past ten years, preached his first sermon as a lay reader in 1952, and he is planning to mark this year’s 60th anniversary, by celebrating a Harvest festival.

Mr Stevenson was first asked to assist services in the Padiham parish when he was 18. He was a lay reader until being ordained deacon in 1979, and priest a year later.

He served as curate in Padiham and Hapton, before becoming vicar at St Paul’s, Clitheroe in 1982.

He took the reins at St Silas’ Church, Blackburn, in 1989. Since his retirement to Great Harwood in 2001, he has worked in the church for a number of parishes, currently at St James’, Accrington.

He said: “I was very fortunate to be a part of these parishes. I’ve enjoyed my life of Christian virtues and ministry. I have served the church as a choirboy, altar server, Sunday School teacher, lay reader and priest!

“Although the church has changed a great deal, I am still active within it. I hope, God willing, to continue a few more years.”

Mr Stevenson had earlier worked in the building trade and later became a Lancashire County Councillor in 1964 and a magistrate in 1966.

Mr Stevenson has been supported in his ministry by his wife Marion, who led the Mother’s Union in each of his parishes.

The couple have two sons, Peter, a Sky Sports reporter, and Adrian, a school sports organiser. They have five grandchildren and a great grandson.

Mr Stevenson is to return to the church he first preached in, St John’s at Higham, for the Harvest service in October.

On Pentecost Sunday, May 27, he will also return to St Paul’s in Clitheroe to preach.