Packed church bids Salesbury vicar farewell

parting shot: Canon John Hartley during his final service at St Peter's Church, Salesbury.
parting shot: Canon John Hartley during his final service at St Peter's Church, Salesbury.

ST PETER’S Church, Salesbury, was packed to the rafters for Canon John Hartley’s final service.

The long-serving cleric has retired after almost 25 years as Vicar of St Peter’s and after having spent all his working life as a priest in the Diocese of Blackburn.

Canon John’s final service at St Peter’s took place on November 6th with the Bishop of Blackburn, The Very Rev. Nicholas Reade, presiding and with Dean of the Cathedral the Rt Rev. Christopher Armstrong, who is also Patron of St Peter’s, in attendance.

The size of the congregation was testament to the high regard in which Canon John is held, both in Salesbury and further afield. He has fully supported and encouraged every aspect of parish life and community life, making it a priority to get to know people as individuals and to care for them.

Parishioners and friends presented his wife, Janet, with flowers and Canon John with a cheque, together with other gifts. As someone who has run the London Marathon, he is hoping to spend more time walking, both in the Ribble Valley and the Alps.

It was said at the service that he had been unswerving in his vocation as Vicar of Salesbury from 1987 up to the present day, and had been a rock at the centre of the parish and community.

Canon John’s replacement at Salesbury, who has not yet been announced, has a hard act to follow.