EASTER Sunday was tinged with sadness as well as joy for the Reverend Humphrey Southern of Tisbury.

For Canon Southern had to bid farewell to the flock he has served for the last seven-and-a-half years as Team Rector of the Nadder Valley and Rural Dean of Chalke.

He is to become Suffragen Bishop of Repton in the Diocese of Derby and will be consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury at a service at St Paul's Cathedral in London next month.

Mr Southern, 46, said that whereas Salisbury Diocese had two suffragen bishops - Ramsbury and Sherborne - Derby had one, and he would be working with the Bishop of Derby.

The new role would be very different, he said.

"It is about supporting and shaping the life of the Church across the whole of the diocese and supporting the work of the clergy," he said.

"I hope that I will be able to bring to it the experience I have had as a parish vicar.

"Being in Tisbury has been wonderful, so I have a mixture of emotions - I am looking forward to the new role, but very sad about leaving Tisbury and the Nadder Valley, where we have made a huge number of friends."

Mr Southern's last services were held at Tisbury and Chilmark.

"Easter is about joy and celebration," he said, "and I wanted to make these occasions a great celebration of our shared life in the Church.

"It has been a huge privilege to be involved in the life of such a wonderful and vibrant community and to share in the joys and sorrows of so many faithful and lovely people."

Mr Southern has served as chairman of governors at St John's Primary School, the former Nadder Middle School, and Chilmark and Fonthill Bishop Primary School (formerly first school).

He was chairman of Tisbus, the community minibus project, served on the Tisbury Police and Community Partnership and supported the Tisbury Community Youth Project.

He and his wife, Emma, a district nurse, and their two daughters, Laura and Kate, are moving to Lea, near Matlock, on the edge of the Peak District.

The Reverend John Staples, team vicar of the Nadder Valley, will be acting team rector until Mr Southern's successor is appointed.

Mr Southern added that he hoped that people from Tisbury and the surrounding villages would come to his consecration service at St Paul's Cathedral on May 31.