Fr Philip's Birthday Present

The man appointed to the post of curate by the Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, is 30-year-old Christopher Phillips, who will be ordained deacon on June 30 and take up his duties immediately afterwards.

The father of three is expected to move to the area with his wife Hannah and children Peter, 11, Aidan, 8, and Catherine, 4, shortly before his ordination.

Northumberland-born Christopher, whose work experience includes a couple of years helping Durham University students to find living accommodation, is in the final year of his pre-ordination training at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford.

Fr Philip said: 'We look forward expectantly to welcoming Christopher and his family in the summer. He will come among us primarily to continue his formation and training to be a priest in God's Church.'

While his parishioners look forward to welcoming a young man at the start of his Christian ministry, his new boss, Fr Phillip, is this week enjoying the immediate fillip the birthday news has brought to another busy week which is the lot of a modern vicar.

'It will be lovely to work with Christopher, who I'm sure will be a hit with the parishioners and a big help to me in what is a very busy parish,' he said.

Mike Casey