THE POPULAR rector of St James the Great's Church in Dursley is bidding farewell to the town after 13 years of service.

The Rev Janet Bromley, 68, is set to take her last service after becoming a much-loved figure in the town.

Mrs Bromley, who had a celebratory hog roast event held for her at the church on Saturday (July 20) told the Gazette she would probably have mixed emotions at her last service this Sunday, July 28.

"It’s the right time for me but on the actual day it will be probably quite sad in some ways but in others it will be a celebration," she said.

"There are hundreds and hundreds of memories. It has been a brilliant place to be, I think the town is a lovely town to live in.

"I have met a lot of people, I have seen them through very sad times and very happy times."

Mrs Bromley said she was looking forward to resting and relaxing when she moved to Monmouth to be with family and was relishing the chance to see her grandchildren more.

But the reverend also said she would miss the town and was aggrieved to hear about Dursley being shortlisted for a book, titled "Crap Towns Returns". "That awful book is wrong and Dursley should not be included in it at all," she said.

"It is just a wonderful place to be, a place of community, a place where the church is very active and the town is supportive of the church."

Member of the church Harry Atkinson, 75, from Burnt Oak, said the reverend was instrumental in raising the £500,000 for the church's repairs and renovations.

"She's done a fantastic job with the church and particularly with the town. She has been involved in everything," he said.

"She's a very human person, dedicated Christian and a natural leader."

Perhaps one her most well-known exploits in her fundraising efforts was her annual visits to the Old Spot Inn to pull pints to generate donations for the church.

The annual event inspired a drink in her honour, the "Reverend Janet".

Such was her impact that the rector was awarded the Leslie D Gale award for her services to the community in April.

Her nominator, Stroud District Councillor Doina Cornell, said she had nominated Mrs Bromley in view of her years of service to the people of Dursley and in order to recognise this before her retirement.

"Janet has been loved in Dursley for 13 years," she said. "I am trying to imagine Janet not being part of Dursley and I can’t."

Mrs Bromley’s last service will be held at 10am on Sunday, July 28 with a bring and share lunch in the parish centre afterwards.