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Paisley retires from ministry

The Rev Ian Paisley, who for decades was one of Northern Ireland's most prominent political and religious leaders, has announced his retirement from his Free Presbyterian Church ministry.

The 85-year-old, now Lord Bannside, will step down next week as minister of his vast Martyrs Memorial Church in Belfast.

He set up the Free Presbyterian Church in 1951 after a split with the main Presbyterian Church, and retired as its moderator three years ago, although he continued to preach. He also retired as MP for North Antrim after 40 years, before the 2010 general election.

Informing his congregation of his intentions, he said he would be writing his autobiography and added: "I will be telling some stories that will make some people laugh and others blush."