PHOTO GALLERY: Former Northern Ireland first minister Ian Paisley preaches in Hethersett

Former Northern Ireland first minister Dr Ian Paisley was guest preacher at a Norfolk church today.

Dr Paisley – now 85 – was at Hethersett Reformed Baptist Church along with his wife Eileen for the 10.45am service.

Church pastor the Rev David Farrow explained how the high profile figure came to accept the invitation.

He said: 'Once or twice a year I have the privilege of preaching at the Free Presbyterian Church in Oulton Broad where Dr Paisley's son Kyle is the minister.

'On one visit I asked Kyle, rather tongue in cheek, the next time his father was in the area would there be a chance that he would come and preach at Hethersett and it was from that comment that we have been able to welcome Dr Paisley and his wife.'

Mr Farrow added: 'Dr Paisley has been well documented over the years for many reasons, but our reason for inviting him to Hethersett is because he is a fine preacher and expositor of the Word of God and a great stalwart of the Protestant Reformed Faith.

'He is a man who strongly defends the truth of Scripture and in that we stand side by side with him, especially in these days of increasing attacks upon the Christian faith.'

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Mr Farrow said: 'We are only a small fellowship at Hethersett and we consider it a great privilege that a man of Dr Paisley's status should consider accepting an invitation from what is a small village chapel.'

After the service Dr Paisley said: 'Sometimes I go to places where I haven't been invited, but I'm pleased to have been asked here.'

The visit starts a special few days for the church, which is celebrating its 135th anniversary and the pastor's sixth anniversary on Sunday (May 14).