Nationally-renowned medium James Byrne has abandoned spiritualism and is launching a new healing' church in a Chorley village.

The first service at his King's Healing Church takes place in Wheelton village hall this Sunday evening, October 15.

James says his decision to ditch spiritualism and turn to Christianity was finally made for him a year ago following a chilling taped reading for a regular client in Wigan.

When the woman played the taped back, she and James were stunned to hear what came out.

"There was this most disgusting, foul-mouthed abusive voice on the tape.

"It sounded like, if you have a record slightly slowed down," revealed James.

"It was such a horrendous voice, it was threatening and I just thought this was enough and I have never ever done a reading since.

"My personal belief is that it was a bad spirit."

Bolton-bred James, aged 52, who now lives in Widnes, says he had been contemplating Christianity for several years after having doubts that spiritualism was for him.

"It took me five years to make that decision," said James.

The former British Rail driver said talking to comedian Sid Little, of Little and Large fame, also had a bearing on his change of direction.

"Horrendous things have happened in his life," he said.

"His son died of a drug overdose, his daughter was attacked, he went through a divorce."

James went on: "When bad things happen, it usually turns you away from God.

"He said it made him feel closer to God."

James, who was one of the UK's best known psychics, had been a psychic medium and clairvoyant since the age of 15.

He has worked around the world, played the London Palladium and regularly featured on TV and radio.

James admits his church involves "laying hands" on people and claims he has seen it cure people of incurable diseases.

"I believe Jesus Christ heals as much today as before. I don't regard myself as being gifted in any way," he said.

"I haven't got powers to do anything. If someone came to me with a massive problem and needed help.

"I would say prayers for that person."

James, married with four children, said he simply chose Wheelton after searching for a venue on the internet, but said he wanted to establish a church in the Chorley and Preston area.

His first service is at 6.30pm and every Sunday after that at the same time.

You can visit his website on www.ministryofhealing.co.uk.