Platinum long service award for preacher

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A Dewsbury Methodist preacher has been honoured for his outstanding 70 year service in the pulpit.

Douglas Bourne, 87, celebrates his platinum anniversary of preaching the Gospel this month.

Mr Bourne, who worships at Trinity Methodist Church in Mirfield, was presented with his 70 year service award during a ceremony at Gomersal Methodist Church.

He joined a Mission Band in Kent when he was 16. The group met for Bible Study and ran its own short services.

A year later he became a preacher on trial and had to run his first sermon.

A man on the back pew shouted out “Rubbish!” halfway through, but the minister told the man to be quiet and let Douglas to carry on preaching.

Mr Bourne said: “Fortunately I’ve never had a similar experience again!

“It must have gone well overall though as I completed the sermon, passed my exams and became qualified as a local preacher in Kent, aged 17.

“I preach because I want people to understand the truth found in the Bible, and am very pleased to have received my 70 year service certificate.”

Mr Bourne moved to Dewsbury 16 years ago and became a preacher with the North Kirklees and Morley Circuit, which is made up of 23 churches.

The Rev Roger Smith, acting Superintendent of the circuit, said: “We are glad that Douglas has carried on preaching and has given such remarkable service to the church.”

Three other preachers in the circuit were also honoured for their long service: Mary Ibbetson, for 60 years; Douglas Perry, for 50 years, and Malcolm Andrews, for 40 years.