Tributes are being paid to a much-loved Market Harborough priest who has died after serving a remarkable 55 years in the church.
Father Owen O’Neill passed away peacefully on Saturday morning (April 10) – just seven months after he retired.
The popular veteran clergyman had become well known to thousands of church-goers after spending almost two decades at Our Lady of Victories Roman Catholic Church on Fairfield Road, Market Harborough.
Representing Christians across the district, Churches Together in Harborough said: “Church members in the Harborough area are mourning the death of Father O'Neill.
“Fr Owen had been priest at Our Lady of Victories Roman Catholic Church in the town for 19 years until his retirement last September.
“He had been a priest for 55 years - and had spent his final days at Peaker Park residential home in the town.
“The current priest at Our Lady of Victories, Fr Christopher O'Connor, was able to give him Holy Communion on Easter Sunday.”
Cllr Phil Knowles, who heads up the Liberal Democrat group on Harborough District Council, said: “My family and I were so sad to hear news of the death of Fr Owen.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
The devout Christian added: “I have many happy memories of his time here with us in Market Harborough.
“He was priest to many of us and a dear much-valued friend to us all.”