Village vicar Gill to retire

Retiring Vicar Gill Dyer with new churchwarden, Denise Wild
Retiring Vicar Gill Dyer with new churchwarden, Denise Wild

A popular and much-loved vicar, who is in charge of three Ribble Valley churches, will hold her last service on Sunday.

The Rev. Gill Dyer (65) will step down as Priest-in-Charge of St Mary and All Saints, Whalley; St Nicholas’s, Sabden; and All Saints, Pendleton, as she heads into retirement.

And the mother-of-two and grandmother-of-four paid tribute to residents of Sabden, Whalley and Pendleton for making her feel “blessed” and welcome.

Gill came to the Ribble Valley five years ago, having previously served in Oxfordshire, Cumbria, the Scottish Episcopal Church and St James Lower Darwen, Blackburn.

During her time here, congregations in all three churches have increased substantially – attracting young and old. One of the pioneering projects she has been involved in is the restoration of St Nicholas’ Church, Sabden, after the ceiling collapsed in 2011. The church, with the help of villagers, raised £200,000 for major repairs and reopened last October.

Gill said: “I cannot believe how brilliant the people of Sabden are. Not only was the ceiling repaired, but the spire, too.”

Paying tribute to her parishioners, she said: “I have been blessed by the people I have worked with.

“Whalley is a lovely area and I have had good times here. The people are so kind and friendly. Here, the congregation has also increased significantly and the work with children has grown. We now need to move forward with the Sunday Club, which accommodates children and there is a real sense in the community to progress with that.”

Gill and her husband, the Rev. Terry Dyer, Priest-in-Charge of St James’ Over Darwen, are to move to Mellor and although she will retire from paid ministerial work she will continue as co-ordinator of spiritual directors in the Diocese and help parishes in the Whalley Deanery.

Gill’s last service is at 4-30 pm on Sunday at St Mary’s Church (Whalley Parish Church) when the congregation will be joined by girls from the Bethany family.