A FORMER East Lancashire church minister was seriously injured after allegedly being attacked in a vicarage by his son.

The Rev Kenneth Dagger, 52, was curate at St James' Church, St James' Road, off Shear Brow, Blackburn, before moving as curate to St Bartholomew's, Church Street, Colne in 1979.

Simeon Dagger, 24, is due to appear at St Helens Magistrates today charged with the attempted murder of his father. Merseyside Police said Mr Dagger was in a serious condition after the incident but has now been discharged from hospital.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Liverpool said today: "There was an incident at the vicarage of St Martin's, Southdene, Kirkby, on Friday night.

"The vicar, the Rev Kenneth Dagger was injured and admitted to hospital where he has since been discharged. A person known to the vicar was arrested by the police and the matter is now with them."

Two years after moving to Colne, Mr Dagger, who trained for ordination at the Bernard Gilpin Society in Durham, in 1972, became the rector of All Saints, Hesketh-with-Beconsall, near Preston, where he stayed until 1985.

After four years working with the appeals organisation for the children's charity Children's Society the Rev Dagger moved to the Liverpool Diocese, holding several posts at various churches.

In 1994 he took up the position of vicar at St James's, in Maghull and lived at the vicarage in Green Link. Last November he became the vicar at St Martin's in Kirkby, where he was installed at a ceremony which included the Bishop of Warrington, the Rt Rev David Jennings, the Archdeacon of Liverpool, the Venerable Bob Metcalf, and the Rector of Kirkby, Rev Anthony Hawley.

St Bartholomew's vicar, the Rev Noel Hawthorne was rector when Mr Dagger was in Colne.

Mr Hawthorne's son David said the family lived in Colne for three years. He said: "I remember Kenneth as a happy sort of chap, well liked by people in the church.

"I think he and his wife Barbara had two children, both were very young and Simeon would be just a baby."

Mr Hawthorne added: "All this will have come as a shock to those in the church who remember the family. All we know is what we have heard on the news."

A spokesman for the Blackburn Diocese said: "The many people that knew Mr Dagger learned with concern of this incident. We will be thinking and praying for him and his family at this critical time."

Nobody was answering his telephone at his vicarage, in Peatwood Avenue, Kirkby, today.