Life's work to be celebrated at special service

A popular Canon who has faithfully served local communities for many years has died at the age of 84.

Canon Jim Duxbury celebrating his Golden Jubilee as an ordained priest at Clitheroe Parish Church with Andy Froud and two former Bishops of Blackburn. (s)
Canon Jim Duxbury celebrating his Golden Jubilee as an ordained priest at Clitheroe Parish Church with Andy Froud and two former Bishops of Blackburn. (s)

James Campbell Duxbury was born in Carlisle in 1933. When he left school, Jim wanted to work in a bank but there were no openings in Carlisle at that time so he stayed on at school but left at the age of 17 to become an apprentice quantity surveyor with John Laings.

His work for Laing’s took him to Bristol, south Wales and Nottingham and while working in south Wales he went to Wembley to hear Billy Graham. He committed his life to Christ that night. When Jim told his landlady she said, “I’ll give you two weeks!”

Jim trained for the Anglican ministry at Tyndale Hall Bristol where he met his wife Patricia in 1960 and was ordained deacon in 1961 and priest in 1962. He served his first curacy in Southport in the parish of St Simon and St Jude and married Patricia at All Saints’,Weston Green, Surrey, in 1963. Their daughter Christine was born in 1964.

Jim moved to serve as Vicar of Tittensor near Stoke-on-Trent from 1965 to 1970. It was here that Jim joined Stone Rotary in 1965 and remained a Rotarian for the rest of his life. In the following year Jim and Patricia’s son, Paul was born.

The family moved to West Bromwich where Jim served as Vicar of the Good Shepherd with St John from 1970 to 1975. Jim was elected to the General Synod to represent the clergy of the Diocese of Lichfield. He continued on the Synod until the 1990s and relished the opportunity to be involved in church politics.

Jim became Priest in charge of Wellington with Eyton in 1975 becoming Vicar in 1980. Jim’s vision was always for the church to be at the heart of the community and he was involved in the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Rotary Club and other community groups.

Jim moved to Lancashire to be Vicar of St Leonard, Padiham, in 1985. For most of his incumbency, he had five churches, five church schools and was also on the governing body of Gawthorpe High School, which later became Shuttleworth College.

When one of the church aided schools in his parish was seriously damaged by fire in the summer holidays Jim succeeded in persuading the education authority to rebuild it completely, not just replace the most seriously damaged part.

He was made an Honorary Canon of Blackburn Cathedral in 1997 and served on a number of Diocesan boards.

Following his retirement in 2001, he and Patricia moved to Clitheroe, where he continued to exercise a lively ministry at Clitheroe Parish Church and abroad at St George’s Taormina in Sicily and St Peter’s Zermatt in Switzerland.

He also served, until recently, on School Admissions Appeal and exclusions panels, Rotary, East Lancashire NHS Hospitals Trust and was also chairman of the appointing trustees at St Simon and St Jude, Southport, and St James, Carlisle, until his death.

Jim is also survived by grandchildren Rachel, Amy, Rebecca and Katie. He was a passionate and devoted supporter of Blackburn Rovers through the good and bad times and maintained that his famous sense of humour helped greatly with this.

A service to celebrate his life will be held at St Mary Magdalene, Clitheroe Parish Church, today at 2-30pm, followed by burial in Higham. The service will be led by Rev. Andy Froud and the preacher will be the Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn.

Those attending are invited to wear brightly coloured clothes, as Jim’s taste in ties was famously striking. Refreshments will be served afterwards in the St Mary’s Centre.