Dedworth's 'Reverend Louise' is saying good-bye to the parish she has served for 24 years.

The much loved priest who has looked after All Saints Church in Dedworth since 1994 is leaving at the end of the month when she turns 65.

But 'retirement' for Reverend Louise Brown MBE, will not mean taking it easy.

She is taking on a new responsibility as a chaplain to the horse racing industry and will be travelling all over the south of England.

She is having a farewell day at the church on Bank Holiday Monday, May 7 from 10.30am to 9pm and hopes to see friends old and new.

During her years at Dedworth she has made it the hub of the community with its cafe and counselling rooms.

But she has had to overcome personal disappointment and major medical problems.

As an enthusiastic 18-year-old about to train as a PE teacher she was knocked down by a bus and suffered a crippling injury.

She said: "When your dream job becomes impossible you wonder round. I drove an ambulance for a veterinary surgeon and helped out at a church at Arborfield. I was immature, naive and lacking in confidence."

A spell working for a church in Arkensas made her realise where her vocation lay. She returned to England and was one of the first women to be ordained as a priest here.

Inevitably she was something of a novelty when she began at Dedworth.

She said: "It was just before the Vicar of Dibley started on television. After the first episode someone shouted across 'I saw you on TV.

"That's the power of the media. Suddenly women had permission to be priests because it was on the television."

Over the years Miss Brown's injury has forced her to battle chronic pain on a daily basis, including a spell in a wheelchair.

She said: "I have had low moments but sometimes you just want to pull the duvet over your head.

"The best way to deal with it is to be honest about it. Prayer and faith helps and loving what you are doing.

"I love Dedworth and seeing the development of a community with heart and passion. I'll miss seeing the children grow up."