BURNLEY’S first public baptisms saw young and old alike proclaim their faith last night.

Three worshippers at Burnley Central Methodist Church, in Hargreaves Street, took the plunge into Christianity in front of dozens of onlookers.

Rev Phil Clarke, who did the baptisms, said the act was ‘about following the example of Jesus Christ’.

Teenagers Daniel Tattersall, 18, and Adam Gore, 17, were fully immersed in a heptagonal pool set up outside the church by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.

Fellow churchgoer Keith Rawlinson, 62, was also re-dedicated in a ceremony inside the church due to his ill health.

Rev Clarke, who has been with the Burnley church for four years, said there was a growing youth section that wanted to affirm their faith.

He said: “We have up to 30 teenagers at our weekly youth section meetings, but it’s more than just a youth club.

“Most of these children don’t come from church-going families, but now they are experiencing God in their lives.

“I have performed many baptisms but never anything like this before.”

Mr Tattersall, from Duke Bar, said he had been going to the church for three years and had no hesitation in receiving a public baptism. He said: “God has changed my life permanently and I want to show my apprec-iation.

“He has been there for me in good times and bad times.

“I made up my mind straight away and I’ve been looking forward to it.”

Mr Gore, from the Stoops estate, added: “For me it was something that, when they first mentioned it, I had to think about really hard.

“Now I want to share with other people that God is the way. He’s made huge difference to my life.”

Customers at Mojitos bar, across the road from the church, were among those who watched the baptism, with several people filming the rare event on their phones.