Photo: Maria Ranallo
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Priest dies from ladder fall

Tue 03 Feb 2015
By Aaron James

A coroner is investigating the death of a priest in Lancashire, who died after he fell from a ladder while dusting in his church.

Fr John Cribben, 76, had served at Our Lady and St Patrick's Church in Walton-le-Dale, near Preston, for 18 years.

Police are not treating his death as suspicious. South Ribble Council are investigating Fr Cribben's death on health and safety grounds. It's believed he fell up to 35 feet from the ladder, where his body was discovered by a parishioner later.

Mr Cribben was a part of the Historic Churches Preservation Trust. A colleague, Richard McDowell, has been paying tribute: "Fr John was someone who made Christianity very real.

"As chaplain to a group of disabled children travelling to Lourdes with HCPT he was as happy speaking with them as with any able bodied person, and thrived on the levelling which Lourdes offers: it doesn't matter how old you are or whether you can walk or speak, you still have value and worth.

"He was a big man: big in his amazing smile and laughter, and in his generous spirit and openness to all."

A funeral's being held for Fr Cribben this Thursday.

A police spokesman said: "We were called shortly after 9.30am (on January 27) to the church following a report a man had died. The matter is not being treated as suspicious and a file has been passed to the coroner."

A spokesman for South Ribble Council said: "Our environmental health department has begun an investigation."

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