HARTLEY Wintney has a new vicar – the former chaplain of the oldest football league club in the country.

The Reverend Mark Tanner has replaced The Rev Robin Ewbank as the new vicar of the parishes of Hartley Wintney with Elvetham, Winchfield and Dogmersfield.

The 53-year-old was previously vicar at Southwell, Nottinghamshire, and for the last five years he was also chaplain at the club he had supported all of his life – Notts County Football Club.

He said: “It was an enormous privilege. My role was to be available to the club and people on every level, from the chairman right down to players, fans and staff.

“They, like anybody, need support and you can relate that to the whole of society.”

The induction service for the vicar took place at St John’s Church, in Fleet Road. It was led by the Bishop of Winchester, the Right Reverend Tim Dakin.

Those attending included the Right Revd Nathan Kyamanywa, Bishop of the diocese of Bunyoro-Kitara in Uganda, with which St John’s Church has links, and James Arbuthnot, MP for North East Hampshire.

The visiting clergy robed in temporary buildings normally used by those working on the new £2.4million church hall, which is due to be completed by July.

Mr Tanner moved to the village with his wife Sue. They have three adult children, Jonathan, Ben and Luke, and one granddaughter, Aliena.

He said: “It is a fabulous community and it’s absolutely beautiful. We have had a fabulous welcome and look forward to working with everybody.”