THE Right Reverend Dr John Inge is the next bishop of Worcester and he received a special warm musical welcome from a group of local schoolchildren during his first official visit to the city.

Bishop John, who is currently bishop of Huntingdon in the Diocese of Ely, said he was honoured at being asked to be the next bishop of Worcester and is really looking forward to moving here.

The appointment was announced by Downing Street yesterday.

He said he did not know he was being considered for the post and found out about his appointment a couple of weeks ago when he received a letter from the then Prime Minister Tony Blair "It was a very nice surprise. I want to emphasise how much we are looking forward to coming here and being what service we can to all the people of the area."

The Kent-born bishop, aged 52, is married to Denise and the couple have two daughters aged eight and three.

"We are looking forward to seeing not only a glorious cathedral, but hills. We pine for views of hills, trees and livestock."

Bishop John was a chemistry teacher before becoming ordained as a priest in 1984. His first appointment was as a chaplain at Lancing College in Sussex and then Harrow School, where he continued teaching both chemistry and religious studies.

He then spent six years as vicar of an inner-city parish in Newcastle, before moving to the Diocese of Ely in 1996 as residentiary canon of Ely Cathedral.

He became vice dean of the cathedral in 1999 and bishop of Huntingdon in 2003.

"I have had time to get used to the idea of being a bishop and I have been to Worcester before but I am looking forward very much to getting to know it better.

"One of the things that is good for me is that the diocese spans the rural in the south and the urban in the north. This brings together the predominantly rural nature of Ely with my previous experience of more urban areas.

"Bishop John and his wife were greeted at Worcester Cathedral by a drumming performance from pupils of St George's Church of England Primary School led by Drumlove - a drumming workshop based in Worcester - and older pupils from Bishop Perowne Church of England High School.

Bishop John - who lists music as well as drama, reading, cycling and swimming among his pastimes - took the opportunity of joining the drummers for a quick encore.

"It has been a wonderful welcome. It has been a real delight," he said.

The current Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Rev Dr Peter Selby, retires at the end of September after 10 years in the post. Bishop John expects to take up his new post around Christmas and he said Worcester people could definitely expect to see him cycling around the city.