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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Bishop announces his retirement

THE Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Rev Martin Wharton, is to retire in the autumn, after 17 years in the post.

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Bishop of Newcastle the Rt Rev Martin Wharton who will retire in the autumn.

Martin Wharton became the 11th Bishop of Newcastle in 1997, succeeding the Rt Rev Alec Graham.

He joined the church in 1972, having worked in a bank and the steel industry before gaining a degree at Durham University and training for the ministry at Ripon Hall, Oxford.

He served in parishes in Birmingham and Croydon, was involved in training those preparing for ordination at Ripon College Cuddesdon (Oxford) and was responsible for clergy and lay training in the Bradford diocese.

While in Croydon he helped to set up the Nightwatch charity for the homeless.

In 1992 he was appointed Area Bishop of Kingston in the diocese of Southwark, South London.

Bishop Wharton is chairman of the Newcastle Council of Faiths, a trustee of St Hilda’s Trust, the Northumbria Historic Churches Trust, the Hild Bede Trust, the Shepherds Law Hermitage Trust and the Newcastle Diocesan Society.

He served for ten years as chairman of governors of St Chad’s College, Durham, of which he was made an Honorary Fellow in 2010.

He is president of Norcare, a member of the Court of Newcastle University, and a patron of the West End Refugee Service, the People’s Kitchen and Azure.

He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2011 New Year Honours List for services to the Church of England and to the community in the North-East.

Away from the church, as a man of Lancashire, he is a keen supporter of Lancashire County Cricket Club, as well as being a long-suffering season ticket holder at Newcastle United – he has seen 11 managers come and go.

He has served in the House of Lords since 2003.

His retirement will be marked by a farewell service in St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle, at 4pm on Sunday, September 21.

In a message sent to the people and clergy of the Newcastle diocese this week, he said: “It has been a privilege to serve the people and communities of Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland as your bishop since 1997.

“Over these years I have formed a deep and lasting attachment to so many people in the parishes and deaneries.”

Bishop Wharton has been married to Marlene since 1970 and the couple have one daughter, two sons and four grandsons.

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