THE outgoing Bishop of Dudley has been reflecting on more than a decade of ministry in the borough.

The Right Reverend David Walker will be completing his active duties in Dudley at the end of September before a move to a new job as Bishop of Manchester.

Rev Walker told the News he has spent 13 "very happy" years in the borough and participated in many memorable occasions, but the cohesion of diverse communities in the region will provide the memories which linger longest.

He said: "Two occasions above all stand out. The first was only a few months after my arrival, when the terrorist attacks took place in New York and Washington in September 2001.

"I'm sure that those who planned the attacks hoped that they would spark a wave of violence, dividing communities into different religious groups, across the world. Yet here in Dudley, as in so many other places, the opposite happened. I remember vividly, later that same week, standing with the other leaders of Dudley's faiths, on the steps of the Council House, for a photo call ahead of a meeting with council leaders indoors.

"We emerged firmer friends and allies, united in caring for the wellbeing of Dudley."

Rev Walker also recalled faiths coming together to oppose demonstrations by right-wing marchers from the English Defence League.

He said: "I and many others signed up to commit ourselves to a united Dudley that would have nothing to do with extreme right wing political organisations from outside which were repeatedly trying to hold marches or demonstrations in our town, disrupting especially our local shops and businesses."

A service for the outgoing Bishop of Dudley will be held at Worcester Cathedral on Sunday October 13.

The Diocese of Worcester is yet to announce who will replace Rev Walker as Bishop of Dudley.