THE next Archbishop of Canterbury has praised a County Durham hair salon for boosting his Christmas spirit.

Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Justin Welby, was in Bishop Auckland this afternoon to judge the town’s shop windows Christmas display competitions.

The competition organised by the Town Team attracted 23 entries and Bishop Welby, who will succeed Dr Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury in March, had a shortlist of seven to choose from.

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The winner as chosen by the Bishop was Saks Hair salon on Newgate Street and they received a shield and hamper full of treats.

Salon owner Pauline Smith said: “We are delighted to have won and look forward to sharing these treats with staff and customers.

“Everyone here has put a lot of effort into our window display and it’s lovely to be judged to be the best.”

Bishop Welby said: “The Saks effort was marvellous, they have a lot of windows but they managed to use all of that space well to really catch the eye.

“They clearly worked hard and it has got a real Christmas feel to it.”

Clive Auld from the Bishop Auckland Town Team said the competition had generated a lot of good cheer in the town.

He said: “We were delighted that Bishop Welby was able to come and judge it for us and wish him all the best for the future.”

The competition was started in 2002 b the Bishop Auckland Town centre Forum, and for the last three years has been won by Shewan Opticians.