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New bishop speaks of hopes for county on the eve of his enthronement

PUBLISHED: 17:00 08 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:20 08 November 2019

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2019

"I'm trying to learn how to pronounce the place names - I can do Happisburgh."

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

He has only been in Norfolk for a few weeks but the new Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher, is already enjoying a warm welcome from communities across Norfolk and Waveney.

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Speaking ahead of his enthronement at Norwich Cathedral tomorrow, Bishop Graham said: "You hear the phrase 'Normal for Norfolk'. If that is a great sense of heart in the community then that is great. I feel thoroughly welcomed."

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

He added he was enjoying exploring the coast and countryside and said highlights so far included Blickling and Holkham.

"I'm keen to get to know the area. I hope to be here until I'm retired. It is a very interesting job. I'm ready to take up this role," he said.

Bishop Graham, 49, is the youngest diocesan bishop in the Church of England and was first ordained 23 years ago.

He has moved to the Diocese of Norwich from Dudley with his GP wife, Rachel Thomson, and two teenage children, two springer spaniels and 350,000 bees.

He will become the 72nd Bishop of Norwich, which covers Norfolk and Waveney, in an enthronement ceremony in front of 1,800 people.

One of the main aims of the new bishop is encouraging people across the diocese to look after the environment.

Bishop Graham said: "I want people to respect and care for God's creation. Climate change is having a disproportionate effect on the world."

One way he will help tackle the problem and spread the message is to give a hazel tree to each person he confirms.

Another will be to use Twitter - which he is a fan of.

"I think social media is really important for getting a message through."

Bishop Graham commented on the vibrancy of Norfolk and Waveney, from his observations so far.

But he also said there was a hidden side to the area which he was keen to highlight and support.

This included loneliness and Bishop Graham highlighted how the church and charity volunteers were important in helping those less fortunate.

He plans to raise awareness of various charities as well as money for worthy causes through opening the Bishop's Garden throughout the year.

*Other services are being held around the diocese to welcome the bishop. They are at: Great Yarmouth Minster, Monday November 18, 7pm;

St Peter and St Paul's Church, Cromer, on Sunday November 24, 4pm; St Cuthbert's Church, Thetford, Monday November 25, 7pm; King's Lynn Minster on Wednesday November 27, 7pm.

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