Senior vicar to move on

IPSWICH'S senior vicar will be leaving the town early in the new year to become an Archdeacon in the north of England.Canon Peter Townley has been vicar of St Mary le Tower, Ipswich's Civic Church, for the past 11 years and has been rural dean of Ipswich for six years. He is also a trustee of the Somebody's Daughter appeal.

IPSWICH'S senior vicar will be leaving the town early in the new year to become an Archdeacon in the north of England.

Canon Peter Townley has been vicar of St Mary le Tower, Ipswich's Civic Church, for the past 11 years and has been rural dean of Ipswich for six years.

He has now been appointed Archdeacon of Pontefract in the Wakefield Diocese in west Yorkshire.

His new appointment represents a return to Mr Townley's north of England roots - although on the other side of the Pennines.

Mr Townley is 52 and was born in Manchester. He studied at the University of Sheffield and at theological college in Cambridge before returning to the north west where he served as a curate and vicar at three different parishes before moving to Ipswich.

He announced his departure to the congregation at St Mary le Tower on Sunday and is expected to leave Ipswich in January before taking up his new job in early March.

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Mr Townley is also a trustee of the Somebody's Daughter appeal, launched by the Evening Star and Ipswich council following the deaths in the town last winter.

In his new role he will be responsible for supporting and managing clergy in the Pontefract area of the Wakefield diocese.

Mr Townley said today: “It has been a great in Ipswich. We have had 11 wonderful years here and it has been a tremendous privilege to be here.

“Now we are looking forward to our move to Wakefield and the new job in the new year.”

News of his move disappointed officials at the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich who said they would be sorry to see him go.

Canon Deirdre Parmenter, Bishop's Chaplain, is a friend of Mr Townley as well as a colleague.

She said: “Peter has been a valuable member of the clergy in Ipswich, particularly in his role as rural dean.

“He has played an important role in the life of the town as well as the church and will be missed after he goes early in the new year.

“His role was particularly important during the horrors of last year when he provided valuable leadership for the church in the town.”

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