A FORENSIC physician has been announced as the next chairman of a church group.

Doctor Alistair Irvine is the new chairman of the Friends of St Edmund’s Church in Sedgefield.

He takes over the role from media consultant Ron Eyley, who has been chairman for the past three years.

Mr Eyley is now leaving the area with his wife, Anne, to live in Rainton Bridge, Houghton-Le-Spring.

The pair have agreed to continue their work with the committee of the group.

Dr Irvine, whose consultancy services are in demand throughout the country and as far afield as the Cayman Islands, was elected at the annual meeting of the Friends of St Edmund’s Church.

He and his wife, Barbara, live on the outskirts of Sedgefield and worship regularly at the church.

Mr Eyley said: “We are all delighted that Dr Irvine has agreed to take over as chair of the Friends of St Edmund’s Church.

"He is the ideal man to lead the group as it prepares to tackle the church preservation challenges that lie ahead.”

Re-elected to the committee were secretary Alison Hodgson, joint treasurers Nigel and Lynda Clegg and membership secretary Brian Mutch.

The Friends of St Edmund’s Church team will be supported by committee members Ron and Anne Eyley, Jimmy Seymour and Kevan Stevens.