Much-loved parish priest dies (82)

Fr Peter Birmingham.
Fr Peter Birmingham.

Much-loved Parish Priest Fr Peter Birmingham has died at the age of 82.

Fr Birmingham, who was parish priest at St Mary’s RC, Sabden, from 1997 until retiring in 2008, died on December 22nd at Nazareth House, Prestwich, after suffering from stomach cancer for two years.

Many parishioners from St Mary’s attended Requiem Mass on Wednesday, conducted by The Bishop of Salford, the Rt Rev. John Arnold, in his home parish of St Mary and St Philip Neri’s in Radcliffe, Bury, where most of his family still live. It was followed by burial in Radcliffe Cemetery.

After National Service Fr Birmingham worked for a period before being accepted for training to the priesthood in 1954. He studied at Osterley College, London, and Ushaw College, Durham, and was ordained in Salford Cathedral in 1962.

He served at Holy Family, Kirkholt for eight years before moving to Holy Saviour, Nelson, from 1970 to 1981, where he and his youth club became well knownfar and wide. He moved to Oldham, Irlam, and St Joseph’s, Accrington, before his arrival at St Mary’s, Sabden, in 1997.

He retired in 2008 and was given a great send-off by the whole village as he was loved by all denominations. He returned in 2012 for a parish celebration for his Golden Jubilee in the priesthood.

He also served as a Chaplain to the Army Cadet Force. An all round sportsman, he was a keen golfer and a season ticket holder at his beloved Burnley FC.