THE Bishop of Durham showed off his sense of humour at a special service to celebrate the 700th anniversary of a North-East town's market charter.

The Right Reverend Justin Welby shared a joke and swapped hats with a policeman in Sedgefield in what he described as a “spontaneous moment” yesterday.

A large congregation turned out at St Edmund’s Church, in Sedgefield to hear Bishop Welby, who last week was announced as the next Archbishop of Canterbury, preach.

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He was not short of admirers, with residents enamoured by his uplifting sermon, people skills and sense of humour.

Pam and Brian Lamb, from Sedgefield, said the service had been amazing.

“It was very uplifting and I thought his sense of humour was wonderful,” said Mrs Lamb. “He is so down to earth.”

Mr Lamb added: “I would say he’ll go far but I think he already has.”

After blessing the town’s new market cross, which was installed this year as part of the Sedgefield 700 celebrations, Bishop Welby posed for photographs with residents.

It was then he showcased his sense of humour PC Keith Todd, from Sedgefield Neighbourhood Police Team.

“I think he will do a good job as the Archbishop of Canterbury as he has great people skills and is very friendly,” said PC Todd.

The Sedgefield 700 celebrations have seen a number of events take place in the town throughout the year.

Town mayor Councillor John Robinson, said he was delighted Bishop Welby had played his part in marking Sedgefield’s historical milestone and presented him with a painting of the market cross by artist Angela Simpson.

He said: “The service was another wonderful occasion in what has been a very special year for Sedgefield,” he said.

The celebrations will continue at 7pm on Saturday, November 17 when a community choir will perform Handel's Messiah at St Edmund’s Church.

Tickets cost £5 and proceeds go to the church lighting appeal fund.