Tributes have been paid to a well-loved reverend who died aged 88.
Rev Jack Jermy, former reverend of Rivington Church, died on April 30, and current minister Stephen Fletcher has spoken about the ‘caring and dedicated’ priest.
“Jack brought a unique and powerful ministry here,” he said. “He transformed a weekly congregation of only single figures when he arrived in 1974, into a thriving and growing church community when he retired in 1995.”
Jack, who spent his last days at Euxton Nursing Home, first trained as a Lay Reader at St Simon’s Church in Bolton.
He was headteacher at St John’s school in Whittle-le-Woods before that, and went on to run St Simon and St Jude’s in Bolton for 16 years.
He later officiated at Euxton Parish Church before moving to Rivington.
Rev Fletcher said: “Jack’s warmth and enthusiasm won the hearts of many people, both locally and further afield.
“He always did things in a rather unique and sometimes orthodox way, but the people of Rivington recognised that it was their interests he had at the heart of his ministry.”
In his early years, Jack grew up on the Wirral, the youngest of five children, and he was a keen sports fan.
He enjoyed participating in rugby, fishing and shooting, and was also a member of Shaw Hill Golf Club.
He met wife Eileen when he was called up for Army Service and posted to the Royal Army Dental Corps, where he trained as a Dental Technician.
Eileen was training as a nurse at Sharoe Green Hospital in Preston, and he invited her to the hospital’s Christmas dance.
They were married in 1946, welcoming daughter Hilary a year later.
Rev Fletcher added: “After he moved here, the Parish soon realised what a caring and dedicated priest he was. And as a bonus, Eileen also served as our church organist until just before her death in 1993.
“I personally feel very privileged to have got to know Jack, through taking communion to him when he was living with Hilary and her husband Ken after Eileen’s death.”
Rev Fletcher conducted the funeral service for Jack at the church in Rivington on Thursday, which Jack had designed himself, choosing his favourite hymns for his family and friends to remember him by.
Rev Fletcher said: “Jack gave us a service that expressed his hopes and beliefs.
“He was a real character, and none of us will ever forget him.”