The Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Martin Wharton, has announced his retirement.
Bishop Wharton, who will turn 70 in August, will step down at a farewell service at St Nicholas’ Cathedral in Newcastle in September after serving the diocese for 17 years.
The announcement was made in a message to the people and clergy of the diocese on Monday.
Bishop Wharton said: “It has been a privilege to serve the people and communities of Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland as your Bishop since 1997 and over these years I have formed a deep and lasting attachment to so many people in the parishes and deaneries.”
The bishop was born in Lancashire and began his ministry in 1972, having previously worked in the banking and steel industries. He gained a degree at Durham University and trained at Ripon Hall Oxford.
He served in parishes in Birmingham and Croydon, helping to set up a Nightwatch charity for the homeless. He was involved in training at Ripon College Cuddesdon and was responsible for clergy and lay training in Bradford Diocese.
In 1992 he was appointed Area Bishop of Kingston, and became the 11th Bishop of Newcastle in 1997.
Bishop Wharton has served in the House of Lords since 2003. He is Chairman of the Newcastle Council of Faiths and was appointed CBE in 2011 for services to the Church of England and the North East community.
He is married to Marlene, has one daughter, two sons and four grandsons.
His farewell service will be held on September 21 at 4pm, and it is open to all.
While the post of Bishop is vacant the diocese will be led by Assistant Bishop of Newcastle Frank White.