priest celebrates 50 years with the church during a golden jubilee |

Duncan Whitworth recently celebrated 50 years as a priest.

He marked the occasion of his golden jubilee on June 27, the day of his ordination, with a meal surrounded by friends.

The 74-year-old said: “It was very nice, they really were like my family.

“I knew they were going to do something, it was very kind of them.”

The clergy of the Church of England are originally ordained deacons, which usually takes about a year before they can become a priest.

Mr Whitworth added: “I’ve had a dog collar around my neck for 51 years – whether that keeps me in control or not, I don’t know.”

Mr. Whitworth originally arrived on the island in 1984 after being abroad in Europe.

He said: “I knew the Isle of Man, I was when I was a child.

“I grew up in Manchester so it was a vacation spot for us.”

The local Port Erin spent 28 years as a priest in St Matthew’s Church in Douglas.

Mr Whitworth continued: “As a teenager I had been to St Matthew’s once when I came with a friend on vacation.

“I never would have dreamed that 30 years later I would be back as vicar, and then I was there for 28 years, which is quite a long time.”

Now that he has retired, St Matthew’s Church has not had a permanent vicar for just under two years, which Mr Whitmore says is no surprise.

He said: “It’s very difficult, always has been, to get people to come to the Isle of Man.

“You must have your life here, so I made my life here.

“If you saw the number of clergy on the hill on Tynwald’s day, it was very thin, there were only about 20 of us.”

Mr. Whitworth was “delighted” to celebrate this monument.

He said: “It is very nice to remember and to be in such a nice place like here to celebrate too.”

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