A newcomer has filled the post of Melksham Team Ministry’s Team Vicar, after 10 months.

The Rev Barry Blackford, 60, was licensed at St Michael and All Angels Church in Melksham on September 6, by the Bishop of Salisbury.

Mr Blackford comes to the town after four years as a priest in Poole, Dorset, and will look after the town’s St Michael’s, St Andrew’s and St Barnabas churches.

He said: “I was encouraged to look at Melksham by the Archdeacon of Sherborne, who felt I would be a good fit for the place. “I met the people here and they thought the same.

“It wasn’t actually a place I was looking at – it’s a smaller town than I was thinking of working in – but, when I came here, I felt that this is where I’m meant to be. Everyone is very welcoming, not just in the Church, but people in the town as well.

“I spent 30 years living in Salisbury and I would travel down through the area, so it wasn’t a completely new place to me.”

Mr Blackford, who has been married to Sheena for 38 years, said he was looking forward to increasing the Church’s involvement in the Melksham community.

He added: “I think, when congregations dwindle a bit in size, you can become a bit isolated if you’re not careful. I want to do a lot more in the spiritual aspect in relationships”

Mr Blackford, who has two daughters and one grandson, said he was looking forward to working with the Forest and Sandridge and Manor Schools in the town.