Haydock priest celebrates 60th anniversary

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Since Fr Gerald Hurst took his Ordination of the priesthood back in 1955, he has served a lengthy career, even travelling the world with the navy.

Now 85, Fr Hurst retired only two years ago and is celebrating his Diamond Jubilee of when he was ordained.

To mark 60 years is a big achievement for a priest. He has given almost 60 years of his life to the priesthood and he was a very popular parish priest. He has led a remarkable life

Fr Anthony Mangnall

To mark the anniversary, Sacred Heart Church, in Hindley Green, and Holy Family Church, in Platt Bridge, are holding a special Mass in his honour.

Born in Haydock, he studied at Up Holland College, where he completed his Ordination at the age of 25. He then took up residency at several churches in the Liverpool parish before becoming a naval chaplain for 17 years.

During that time he travelled the world, across the Middle East, and spent time at Fasland naval base in Scotland.

He then retired from the navy and took up a post as the parish priest of Castletown and Port Erin on the Isle of Man.

He moved back to Wigan two years ago due to ill health and is now under the care of Belong in Platt Bridge.

Fr Anthony Mangnall, parish priest of Holy Family and Sacred Heart churches, said: “To mark 60 years is a big achievement for a priest. He has given almost 60 years of his life to the priesthood and he was a very popular parish priest. He has led a remarkable life.”

His niece, Josie Mcguirk, said: “Fr Hurst has led an interesting life. Whilst in the Isle of Man he had many connections. He had met author Bill Norton, who was famous for the play Alfie, and he was good friends with former Saints player Vince Karalius. He even did his funeral.

“He worked extremely hard over a long period of time. Religion was a huge part of his life as he came from a religious family.

“It is really nice that we are having a party for him and that the two churches are holding Mass for him.

“Because of his ill health, I am not sure how much he will take in, but it will be a nice celebration for him.”