A WOMAN who trained for the priesthood in the North-East has made history by being appointed the Church of England’s first female bishop.

Durham University graduate The Rev Libby Lane has been appointed the new Bishop of Stockport and will be consecrated in a ceremony at York Minster on January 26.

The 48-year-old was ordained in 1994 after training for the ministry at Cranmer Hall in Durham.

She has since served a number of parish and chaplaincy roles in dioceses including York and has for the past eight years served as vicar of St Peter's, Hale, Greater Manchester, and St Elizabeth's, Ashley, Cheshire.

The announcement comes just a month after the General Synod formally adopted legislation in favour of women bishops.

The Rev Lane said: "This is unexpected and very exciting.

“On this historic day as the Church of England announces the first woman nominated to be bishop, I am very conscious of all those who have gone before me, women and men, who for decades have looked forward to this moment. But most of all I am thankful to God."

The post of Bishop of Stockport is an assistant or suffragan bishop in the diocese of Chester.

The Most Rev Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and former Bishop of Durham, said he was “absolutely delighted” at the appointment.

He added: “Her Christ-centred life, calmness and clear determination to serve the Church and the community make her a wonderful choice.

"She will be bishop in a diocese that has been outstanding in its development of people, and she will make a major contribution.

“She and her family will be in my prayers during the initial excitement, and the pressures of moving."

The Right Reverend Paul Butler, his successor as Bishop of Durham said: "This is great news, I am delighted. I want to wish Libby every success.

“All of our prayers and blessings are with her as she takes on this next stage in her own ministry and that for the Church of England.

"Libby trained for ordination at Cranmer Hall here in Durham and it’s great that in this story Durham continues to play an important part in the future direction of the Church."

Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who will preside over her consecration, said: "Libby brings a wealth of experience in parish ministry, in hospital and FE chaplaincy, in vocations work and the nurture of ordinands. I am delighted that she will exercise her episcopal ministry with joy, prayerfulness, and trust in God.

The Rev Lane, who includes playing the saxophone and supporting Manchester United among her hobbies, is married to the Rev George Lane and has two grown-up children.

She said: "This announcement has been a long time coming and I'm extremely honoured to be nominated as the first bishop in the Church of England.

"And I'm very conscious of those who have gone before me, men and women whose prayers and work in ministries have laid the work for today.

"I've no doubt that many will follow on from me and I look forward to the time when I'm still the first, but not the only, woman to be nominated as a bishop in the Church of England."

She added: “Voices from the margins have begun to be heard.

"I'm delighted to be part of that line of continuing change as the Church works to serve its community.

"Today, I pray that it will not be simply about this one woman called to a new ministry in the Church but, much more than that, an opportunity to acknowledge all that has gone before and to look ahead to what is still to be done."