THE SOUND of bells echoed across Royal Wootton Bassett on Saturday in honour of its beloved outgoing priest.

The town bellringers rang a peal in honour of the Rev Canon Thomas Woodhouse, who has served as vicar of St Bartholomew’s Church for eight years.

On February 26 he will take on a new position as team rector at St Mary’s Church, in Dorchester, where he will be moving with his wife and four daughters. He will officially leave his role on February 15.

Speaking about his departure last year, he said: “I felt the time was approaching when I was ready for a new challenge. I had done what I felt God had called me here to do and that’s the right time to look at something new.”

He will be overseeing nine churches in Dorchester. During his time in Royal Wootton Bassett, he expanded his congregation at St Bartholomew’s from 100 to an average of 200.