A COUNTY Durham clergyman is preparing for life on the ocean waves as chaplain to passengers and crew during a round-the-world cruise.

Canon Neil Russell, associate priest at St Mary's, Gainford, near Barnard Castle, will be joined by wife Kathy for the epic voyage.

He is no stranger to on-board chaplaincy having been on two cruises in the past year, to the Mediterranean and Norway.

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“On these cruises I was chaplain to the passengers and crew – in effect, I was their vicar for the duration of the cruises.

“I arranged and took services and provided pastoral care to those who needed it. I remember particularly the Remembrance Sunday service I led in the harbour of Malta's capital, Valetta.”

Looking forward, Canon Russell said during the world cruise, he will visit South Amercia, the Falkland Islands, New Zealand, Australia and south and west Africa.

Friends back home in Teesdale will be able to keep up with events at sea via his blog – www.neilrussell.wordpress.com.