A WINCHESTER vicar is set to become the new Bishop of Basingstoke, Downing Street has announced.

The Reverend Canon David Williams, the current vicar of Christ Church, will be ordained at a special service at Winchester Cathedral on September 19.

He succeeds the Right Reverend Peter Hancock, now the Bishop of Bath and Wells.

Rev Williams has served in the diocese for the last 13 years working closely with numerous members of the community, including the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester prison, and the University.

“Knowing the diocese as I do will, I'm sure, be invaluable in my new role,” he said. “Over the last 13 years I have grown to know and love the people, the churches and the communities of this area. Over that time I’ve met some really inspiring clergy and enjoyed working with many organisations doing great things and changing people’s lives. I want to build on that in this new role.

“Taking on this role comes with a huge responsibility; North Hampshire embraces many diverse and unique communities both urban and rural. Myself and Helen are really looking forward to this new chapter in our lives.”

Rev Williams grew up in East Africa. After finishing university he worked for the Church Mission Society in eastern Kenya where he was deputy head teacher of a village secondary school and built close links with the Anglican church in Uganda and Sudan.

The Right Reverend Tim Dakin, the Bishop of Winchester, said: “I am absolutely delighted that David has been appointed to serve in this new way within the diocese. His work over the past 13 years, his understanding of the challenges and strengths of the local church and the relationships he has forged – both within Winchester and across the diocese - means he is well-fitted for the task ahead.”

The Most Reverend Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, decided that Rev Williams’s consecration as Bishop of Basingstoke will take place at Winchester Cathedral - the first in the city for many years. Rev Williams welcomed Archbishop Justin’s decision and said the service would mean a lot to him.

“Having the consecration ceremony within the diocese means a great deal,” he added. “Winchester Diocese is our home so it will be a great honour to be consecrated in our own Cathedral, surrounded by the community, our friends and family. I want to ensure that it will be an event everybody can enjoy.”