A THOUSAND years of Durham county and diocese will be celebrated at a millennium service on Sunday.

Durham's Lord Lieutenant, Sir Paul Nicholson, will lead one of the largest processions of the county's civic, clerical, academic and ceremonial figures.

The public service, at Durham Cathedral, will look back over 1,000 years of the county and diocese, and its people.

Introduced by the Dean of Durham, the Very Reverend John Arnold, with a sermon given by the Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Michael Turnbull, it will include readings reflecting the spirit of the county past, present and future.

Among the readers will be author and agony aunt Denise Robertson, from Sunderland, who was recently appointed deputy lieutenant for the county.

She will read from the works of Sir Walter Scott, capturing the mood of Durham present.

Representatives of the diocese will read from the works of Simeon of Durham, a 12th Century monk widely accepted as penning the first written history of the county, representing Durham past.

Secondary pupils Adam Carter, of Tudhoe Grange School, and Jo Oldham, of Wolsingham School, will represent the county's future, reading passages from American travel writer Bill Bryson's impressions of his first visit to Durham.

Other readings will be given by county council leader Don Robson, recounting passages from the works of the Venerable Bede, and by Sir Paul Nicholson.

Durham University post-graduate student Mandy Griffin will sing a song of Northumbria. Sir Paul urged people to attend the service, which begins at 3.30pm