THE first woman to become the Bishop of Southampton was granted her new role over the weekend.

Mother-of-two and Right Reverend Debbie Sellin was declared as a Bishop earlier this month but was marked with the formal Bishop of Southampton position at a welcome service at Winchester Cathedral on Sunday.

She was also the first woman to be a Bishop in the Diocese of Winchester, which is an area under the pastoral care of a bishop in a Christian Church, and was welcomed as a Suffragan Bishop by the Bishop of Winchester and Right Reverend Tim Dakin, at Sunday's service.

Bishop Debbie, who is originally from Scotland, said: “It was a joy to be joined by so many new friends and colleagues from across the Diocese yesterday.

"I am very much looking forward to starting work in Southampton, Bournemouth and the communities and parishes across Hampshire and East Dorset, supporting the Christian life of this diverse community.

She added: "Already I have found the local community to be extremely welcoming and generous in their prayers for me and my family as I take up my new role.”

Debbie initially started a career as an NHS manager and then a family and children's worker, but went on to serve her Christian values when she became a priest in 2008 at St Saviour's Guildford church.

Shortly after, she became a vicar, was appointed an area dean in Cranleigh, and even became an honorary canon of Guildford Cathedral in 2018, where she occasionally assisted in cathedral services.

Bishop Tim said: “As a parish priest and area dean, Debbie developed a thriving and lively parish community and brought effective leadership to the deanery.

"She brings that experience and experiences from other previous roles to her new role as Bishop and I am excited about the many ways in which she will be able to support the mission of the whole Diocese and especially in the Southern Archdeaconry.”