THE selection of the Right Reverend Paul Butler as the new Bishop of Durham was heralded as “exciting news” by the man who has overseen the diocese in recent months.

Speaking at the bishop designate’s first appointment in the diocese, at Holy Trinity Primary School, in South Shields, the Bishop of Jarrow, the Right Reverend Mark Bryant, welcomed the successor to Justin Welby, who has risen to the top Anglican post of Archbishop of Canterbury after only a year in office in Durham.

The Rt Rev Bryant, as suffragan bishop, has filled in during the episcopal interregnum for the second time, having also performed the role in the period between previous bishops Tom Wright and Justin Welby.

But he said he was glad to hand over the mitre to his “new boss”, the Rt Rev Butler.

“He’ll be very good news for the North-East.

“We’ll soon discover he has a real concern for some of the sorts of communities we have in the North-East, with people who are really struggling and where life is tough.

“He has a real commitment to these sorts of communities and experience from working with them in Nottinghamshire.

“He has a real commitment to working with children and young people and that is why he was determined children were to be the first people he would meet the new bishop.”

The new bishop already serves as the Church of England’s spokesman on safeguarding and child safety issues.

Bishop Bryant added: “He is also committed to finding how churches can grow both in numbers and in their local communities.

“Like many of us, he’s deeply committed to what’s going on with food banks and how we can expand the influence of credit unions.

“I hope he will continue the work Archbishop Justin began in the North-East and I’m confident he’ll be a very strong advocate for the region.”

Following morning assembly at Holy Trinity the new bishop moved on to Durham to meet people from across the diocese at the cathedral, before heading south-west to Barnard Castle later in the day.