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Last Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Longest serving priest dies at 98
Reverend Raymond Bristow
Colleagues said Father Bristow was much loved and respected
The longest serving priest in the Church of England has died, aged 98.

The Reverend Raymond Bristow was ordained a Deacon in Lichfield Cathedral in 1935 and became a priest the following year.

Until last October he was still assisting with services at St James' Church in Norton Canes, Staffordshire.

A spokesman said Father Bristow, who has also served in the Birmingham and Coventry dioceses died at Abbey Court Nursing Home on 25 July.

'Much loved'

Although he officially retired in 1975, he was licensed by the Bishop of Lichfield with permission to officiate and regularly helped to lead Mass every Sunday.

He served his first curacy at St Mary and St Chad's Church in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent and also served in the dioceses of Rochester, Oxford and Sheffield.

He celebrated 70 years since his ordination as a priest last September and said at the time: "They tell me it's a bit of a do, but I don't know much about it."

Reverend Neil Hibbins, Rector of Norton Canes parish near Cannock, said ahead of celebration that his colleague was "much loved and respected" and he was humbled to stand at the altar with an Edwardian.

Man, 98, longest serving priest
15 Sep 06 |  Staffordshire

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