A FORMER vicar and Elvis impersonator says "Elvis has left the building" as he prepares for his farewell show next month.

Andy Kelso, who has performed as "Rev Elvis" since 2011, says that the time is right to say goodbye to his stage persona.

Mr Kelso, 71, said: "It is the end of an era in a few ways but it has gone full circle really with my farewell show to be in Redditch, where it all started.

"At that first show 200 people turned up and I was petrified waiting to go on - they had to throw me on stage."

Performing as Rev Elvis came off the back of 25 years as a vicar and eight years working as chaplain for the Worcester Warriors, and, looking back, Mr Kelso said: "I will miss it in one sense, but the other part I won't miss is all the travel, driving across the country and setting everything up is quite a thing to put together.

"That being said, it has been great and something really different - who would have thought a vicar would become Elvis Presley?

"It was a strange career change, but I feel it was definitely of God."

In his time performing as Rev Elvis, Mr Kelso performed all over Britain, as well as a few gigs overseas.

One of his proudest memories is performing on the so-called "Peace Line" in Belfast, which separates various Protestant and Catholic neighbourhoods in the city, in February 2014.

He said: "The peace line was haunting, it has been up longer than the Berlin Wall was and there is all sorts of graffiti from the various groups and murals to their 'heroes'.

"Getting Catholics and Protestants together was a real miracle and someone even said that the performance had done more for the peace process than any of the politicians.

"They wanted me to come back again, but unfortunately that never happened, but looking back that was one of the biggest moments."

READ MORE: Former vicar and Elvis impersonator speaks about being 'hooked' on prescription medication

Mr Kelso's career as a vicar started in Matchborough, near Redditch, in the 1980s, spending 25 years doing God's work before he had to take early retirement after he was diagnosed with several physical and mental health issues.

At the time, he was also suffering with anxiety and depression during that time, and he has since spoken out about his experience of being addicted to prescription anti-depressants.

Mr Kelso, who lives in Throckmorton near Pershore, had been prescribed Citalopram, which he was on for 15 years, and found it difficult to give up, saying he was "hooked" on them.

In conjunction with his retirement from performing, Mr Kelso is publishing a short leaflet on his experiences with depression and being addicted to the medication in the hope it will help others in a similar situation.

He said: "I wanted to share my story in the hope that it will help others, because the nature of these anti-depressants is that you shouldn't be on them very long, and if and when you come off them you have to do it very slowly.

"The booklet is 20 pages or so with some photos from my life including some of me as Elvis.

"Obviously I can only tell my personal story, but hopefully it will help someone dealing with the same thing."

Mr Kelso's farewell concert as Rev Elvis takes place on Friday November 29 at South Redditch Social Club.

The event runs from 7pm until 10pm and tickets cost £5. To buy tickets call Tadgh on 07976934549 or Kim on 07803277800.Even though he is stepping down from being Elvis, Mr Kelso's life is still going to be busy, as he is soon to become a grandfather for the 12th time.

He said: "With being 72 this year and having nearly 12 grandchildren, the time is right to get Elvis off the road.

"The concert falls at a good time, being the end of November, as I can include some of Elvis' Christmas songs as well.There will be lots of family and friends there and I am sure it will be a great night."

For more information, go to www.revelvis.co.uk