MORE than a decade after becoming one of the first woman priests in the country, the Rev Cherry Vann has been installed as a an honorary canon for her dedicated service.

Miss Vann, aged 48, who is area dean of Farnworth, now holds the post of team rector in East Farnworth and Kearsley.

She said: "There are about four or five women canons in Manchester.

"It is an honour to have been made a lay canon, not only for me, but for Farnworth.

"I think my congregation were more thrilled than I was!"

The title of canon is awarded as a recognition of long and dedicated service to a diocese.

Miss Vann entered the priesthood in 1994 when, after a bitter debate, the Church of England voted in favour of allowing women to become priests.

History was made again when Miss Vann became the first woman in Bolton to preside at holy communion.

A talented musician, she grew up in Leicester and, although she was taken to church as a child, had no intention of joining the clergy.

Instead, she aimed for a career as a pianist and studied at the Royal College of Music in London.

It was while she was there that she changed course and realised the church was her vocation.

Although barriers to women are being broken down, there is still a reluctance by the church to appoint women to more senior roles.

She said: "There is no denying that things are moving in the church - we have one residential woman canon in Manchester.

"But they are not moving as fast as some of us would like.

"I don't know where I would like to go from here because at the moment I am happy in Farnworth."