A LONGSTANDING former canon described as a‘larger than life’ character has died.

Canon James Duxbury, who served in Padiham for more than 17 years passed away earlier this month at the age of 84.

Mr Duxbury became a vicar in Padiham in 1985 and served several churches including St Leonard’s Church and Padiham Green CE in Padiham, St Margaret’s Church in Hapton and Simonstone St Peter’s in Simonstone.

Mr Duxbury was made an honorary canon for Blackburn Cathedral in 1997 and retired in 2001.

He passed away at The Manor House in Chatburn after suffering from a long-term illness.

Mr Duxbury’s wife, Patricia, 76, said he was well know within Padiham and the surrounding areas.

She said: “James was very people oriented and believed the church was a focal point of the community.

“Many people have cause to be grateful to him, he helped people and took a practical approach towards problems.

“He had lots of contacts in many circles.

“He was a big Blackburn Rovers fan and held a season ticket. He used to play cricket and rugby when he was a younger man.”

Mr Duxbury was also a school governor for more than 27 years at several schools including Hapton Primary School, Gawthorpe High School and Padiham Green CE Primary School.

After retiring Mr Duxbury and his wife moved to Clitheroe and attended services at St Mary Magdalene’s Church.

Rev Andy Froud, of the Clitheroe parish church, said: “There is always an element of sadness when someone dies, especially someone who you have counted as a friend.

“There will be a lot more to be said about Jim but for now let me just say that as well as the sadness, there is for me a huge sense of privilege in knowing Jim and working and praying with him and above the deep joy of knowing that he is now with the Lord he served and loved in life.”

A service of thanksgiving to mark his life was held yesterday at St Mary Magdalene’s Church.

Mr Duxbury was survived by his wife, two children and four grandchildren.