A CLITHEROE vicar is expecting to scale down his involvement in the town after being asked to take over two rural churches.

Rev Andy Froud, who is currently in charge of St Mary Magdalene’s church, will take over St Leonard’s in Downham and Christ Church in Chatburn after Canon Rodney Nicholson announced his intention earlier this year to retire.

Canon Nicholson, 68, took over St Paul’s Church in Clitheroe 24 years ago and also took on St Leonard’s and Christ Church 11 years ago.

The changes have been discussed by church bosses and Rev Froud, who is also a part-time chaplain at Clitheroe Hospital, over the last few months.

St Paul’s will be taken over by St James’ Church, Clitheroe.

Rev Froud has said that he intends to accept the offer after he received a letter from church bosses. He will take on the extra roles alongside his current commitments to St Mary’s.

He said: “I’m expecting to have to scale down my involvement in Clitheroe. I will be spread a lot more thinly that I have been and I will have to travel to both villages quite a bit.

“It’s a great challenge and I’m really looking forward to it.

“It’s also a fantastic chance for my curate, Rev Andrew Whitehead, as he will take on more responsibility.

“I hope that I will not have to duck out of anything all together but I will have to take part in less because there just won’t be the time. Both Downham and Chatburn are lovely places and I can’t wait to get started.

“My parishioners are mostly ok with the changes but I think that a few maybe concerned that will be losing ‘their vicar’, which isn’t the case at all.” Alongside running three parishes, Canon Nicholson, who lives in Clitheroe, has served as the chair of governors at Chatburn Primary School and has been involved with Edisford Primary School in Clitheroe.

He was made a canon at Blackburn Cathedral in 2006 and is planning to relocate to Pocklington near York to be closer to his family.

He announced his intention in February to step down this month.