AFTER eight months of waiting Thornbury can finally welcome a new leader to its flock.

The Rev John Suddards has arrived in the town and is busily unpacking boxes before his new post officially starts on Monday, July 4.

Mr Suddards, 58, has been a clergyman for 22 years, following a change of career after a serious car accident.

"I was a barrister in London and I had a major road accident when I was 31 and as a result of that accident, and a series of events that happened, it led me to believe that I should go into the church.

"Lawyers can do two things, they can separate people and they can transfer money, but not much more than that and I felt I would like to do much more than that," he said.

Mr Suddards has come from a parish in Witham, Essex, a county where he has spent all of his church career so far.

As vicar of Thornbury Mr Suddards will have responsibility for St Mary’s and St Paul’s, as well as St Arilda in Oldbury and Shepperdine Chapel.

Despite still finding his feet in his new home, Mr Suddards said he was looking forward to getting to know the community and getting stuck in with the local projects.

"I was interested in the reordering plans they have for the church, I liked the pastoring situation, and I felt I could build on the strengths that are already here," he said.

Mr Suddards replaces Rev David Primrose, who after more than seven years in Thornbury left for pastures new at the end of October last year.

A service to welcome Mr Suddards to Thornbury will take place at St Mary’s Church, Thornbury, on Monday, July 4 (7.30pm).