A RIBBLE Valley vicar who is in charge of three churches is set to retire in the New Year.

Rev Gill Dyer, 64, will step down as priest in charge of St Mary and All Saints, Whalley, St Nicholas’ in Sabden and All Saints in Pendleton when she holds her last service on February 1.


The mum-of-two and grandmother-of-three joined the United Benefice of West Pendleside five years ago having previously served in Oxfordshire, Cumbria, the Scottish Episcopal Church and Lower Darwen.

After being involved in the ministry for 35 years since being trained in Salisbury, Rev Dyer said that her plan had alway been to retire at the age of 65, after celebrating her birthday in January.

Rev Dyer and her husband Rev Terry Dyer, who is in charge of Over Darwen St James and St Paul’s in Hoddlesden, are set to move to Mellor from the vicarage in The Sands, Whalley.

During her time in the Ribble Valley, Rev Dyer helped to restore St Nicholas’ Church in Sabden after the ceiling caved in 2011.

The church raised £200,000 for the work and the church was finally reopened in October 2013 after an 18-month project.

Rev Dyer, who is originally from Birmingham and studied at Sheffield University, said the restoration project was a stand-out moment of her time in the borough.

She said: “It’s a huge change for a priest not to have their own church and their own altar.

“Not to have your own congregation is going to be really quite strange.

“To sit in the pew and not at the front is going to very odd but I think there is a time for everybody to move on and let other people develop their skills and their abilities.”

After Rev Dyer steps down, in the New Year a six-month period will be set aside for the diocese to find her successor.

She said; “It has been a very happy time and there has been lots of ups.

“I will be very sad to leave my congregations behind but it’s the right time to go.

“One of the stand-out moments for me has to be the project to get St Nicholas’ reopened and the small congregation really were absolutely amazingly generous and really pulled together.

“The decision to retire wasn’t a big decision for me because it was always the plan to go when I was 65 so it had been coming for a while.

“I know that whoever takes over will do a great job.”

Rev Dyer’s final service will be staged at Whalley Parish Church on February 1, from 4.30pm.