A NEW top church position for the Meon Valley, created for the millennium, has been announced with a former Fareham man chosen for the job.

From November this year Rev Canon Peter Hancock, presently Vicar of St Wilfrid's, Cowplain, is to become Archdeacon of the Meon, a post created after 20 years of discussion within the Anglican Church.

The post was finally approved by the Church Commissioners and means the separation of the diocese into three archdeaconries - Meon, Portsdown, also a new archdeaconry, and Portsmouth.

Canon Hancock, 44, grew up in Stubbington and went to school in Fareham. He has been Vicar of St Wilfrid's for 14 years.

He was also Rural Dean of Havant from 1993-1998. The Archdeacon and his family will be moving back to Fareham later in the year.

The move has been welcomed by the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Dr Kenneth Stevenson. He said: "The appointment of an Archdeacon of The Meon is the culmination of a chapter in the life of the diocese.

"The possibility of a third archdeacon to enhance the support given both to parish clergy and to their churches has been under discussion for two decades and finally it was approved in May this year," he said.

"It will involve separating the current archdeaconry of Portsmouth and the collation of the two new archdeacons of The Meon and Portsdown.

"I am especially pleased that I have been able to appoint someone who is already well-known and respected in the diocese of Portsmouth." The Venerable Chris Lowson will be collated Archdeacon of Portsdown with Canon Hancock.

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