Father John Abberton, priest

Fr John Abberton
Fr John Abberton
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Father John Abberton, who has died at 69, was the former parish priest of Holy Spirit Church in Heckmondwike, who had four years ago presided over its centenary celebrations.

An anniversary appeal by the parish raised £100,000 and enabled, with a grant from English Heritage, a restoration to be carried out.

Fr Abberton was raised in Halifax and attended St Gregory’s Grammar, now All Saints’ School, Bradley.

From there he went St Mary’s College in Aberystwyth before beginning his studies for the priesthood at Ushaw College in Durham. During his time there he obtained a degree in theology and anthropology from Durham University.

He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Wheeler at St Bernard’s, Halifax, in 1975, following which he was appointed assistant priest at Our Lady of Lourdes, Huddersfield. In 1979 he moved to the Heart parish in Leeds and in 1982 to St Robert’s in Harrogate.

In 1987, Bishop David Konstant appointed him parish priest of St Joseph’s at Goole, where he remained until 1995 – at which point he began a long association with Bradford, first as parish priest of St Peter’s on Leeds Road, then at St Mary’s on East Parade. Following its closure in late 2006, he took up his post at Heckmondwike, returning eventually to Bradford as parish priest of St Anthony’s, Clayton.