A NEW vicar has been appointed to Bolton Parish Church The Reverend Matt Thompson will take up the role in September, after the retirement of Canon Michael Williams last year.

And the 39-year-old, who is currently vicar at Saint Cross with Saint Paul in Clayton, east Manchester, said he cannot wait to get started.

"It's a really exciting opportunity for me," said Mr Thompson.

"I know quite a few of the clergy who have worked at the Parish Church and respect them so it's very attractive to me to work where they have been.

"It's a very striking building and I'm looking forward to working there."

Mr Thompson said he had visited Bolton several times and was looking forward to making an impact on both the church and the community.

He said: "I am very interested in prayer and spirituality.

"There's fantastic music at the church which I'm also interested in and I look forward to getting to know the church schools.

"I will look to build good community relations with people as that's very important."

Originally from the West Midlands, Mr Thompson said he wanted to enter the clergy from the age of 11. He has been working in the Manchester area since he was 25.

Mr Thompson will divide his time between the parish church and St Philip's Church, Bridgeman Street, Great Lever.

He hopes to move to Bolton in August, before starting his new position on September 21.