A DAY in honour of a Barnsley-born missionary could be held next year - to encourage tourists from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

James Hudson Taylor was born on May 21 and Chinese businesswoman Mary Lui - who has moved to Barnsley and is working with several organisations in an effort to boost tourism in the town - wants an annual day to be named after him.

Mary, who returned to Beijing last week for the Christmas holidays but plans to return to Barnsley in the new year, said: "We want to have James Hudson Taylor Day on May 21.

"I believe people will come from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan and we could have lots of celebrations across the town that day.

"I've said many times that James Hudson Taylor is a hero in my nation. He came to China, learned the language and loved our people.

"I'm now doing the same for Barnsley and am enjoying my time here. I have rented an apartment in the town centre and I preached my first sermon in English at Gateway Church in New Lodge.

"There are already 50 people who I know will be coming for 2014 but the big celebrations will take place in 2015, which is the 150th anniversary of the launch of Hudson Taylor's organisation, China Inland Mission.

"May 21 of next year will just be a taster of what is planned for 2015 and we will be releasing more information in the coming weeks and months."