Rev Ron Greenall endured “a baptism of fire” when he arrived to be vicar of St Thomas’s Church just two days after the Abbeystead disaster.
A vicar’s lot is a mixed one, sharing the griefs and the joys of the local community and he says the tragedy meant he got to know local people very well as a result.
One of the victims, Geoff Seed, was a St Thomas’s churchwarden and his wife Pat insisted that full coverage rights were given to all the media for Geoff’s funeral.
Mr Greenall recalls: “Britain’s first full inside church coverage of a funeral, except for a royal or state occasion, was at St Thomas’s Garstang. As I celebrate the 30th anniversary of my induction as a vicar at St Thomas’s, I very acutely remember that the Abbeystead disaster happened.
“I had to meet people whose lives had been completely turned around, particularly Pat Seed, and also the family of Alan Lacey, who was one of the senior engineers on site, who was killed outright.”
* St Michael’s-on-Wyre Parish Church is holding a special Abbeystead Sunday service from 9.15am on Sunday, May 25.
They will be lighting candles for all of the victims and laying flowers at the memorial plaque in the church.