THE NEW Bishop of Peterborough is to be the Venerable Donald Allister, the Liverpool-born Archdeacon of Chester, Number 10 Downing Street announced today.

Donald, 57, is the son of a Mersey docks manager and a nursing sister.

He grew up in Birkenhead, Bromley in Kent, Heswall, then Birkenhead again before studying at Cambridge University and later at theological college in Bristol.

He is due to be consecrated and installed as Bishop of Peterborough next spring.

He will succeed the Right Reverend Ian Cundy, who died last May.

Donald was a vicar in Birkenhead and Cheadle, and Rural Dean of Cheadle before becoming the Archdeacon of Chester in 2002.

His current role involves him in administration, pastoral duties and the encouragement of mission in the western half of the Diocese of Chester.

He has also had a role in the leadership of the whole diocese.

As his new role as a diocesan bishop was announced by 10 Downing Street today, Donald aid: "Christian ministry is a huge privilege and for me it has also brought many joys.

"I have loved my roles in various churches and in the Diocese of Chester.

"I am overwhelmed by this new job but believe that it is the Church’s call and God’s call to me.

"I am looking forward to leading the Diocese of Peterborough, and getting to know the people, churches and communities there.

"I love the ministry of preaching, teaching and offering pastoral care and support, and will continue that in my new job.

"But I will certainly miss the Diocese of Chester and my many friends and colleagues here."

Donald is married to Janice, a GP. They have a son, the Revd John Allister, who is Curate at Hurdsfield, near Macclesfield, and two grown-up daughters, Rosie, a vet, and Susan, who recently gave up her academic career to become a full-time mother.

The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Dr Peter Forster, said: "I am delighted at Donald Allister's appointment to the See of Peterborough.

"Donald was brought up in the Diocese of Chester, and has served most of his ministry here. We shall miss him very much.

"Donald had a most creative incumbency at St Mary's, Cheadle. He played a major role beyond the parish, as a Rural Dean and in the wider Diocese.

"The current flourishing of the parish owes much to Donald's wise leadership.

"The years as Archdeacon of Chester have allowed Donald's ministry to develop and grow.

"He has won respect and admiration from all parts of the Diocese, and in the elections to General Synod topped the clergy poll by a wide margin.

"He has combined the administrative, pastoral and teaching roles of Archdeacon in a remarkable way."

The Bishop of Birkenhead, the Rt Revd Keith Sinclair, said: "It has been a great privilege to work with Donald Allister over these past two-and-a-half years.

"He is a great colleague with a passion for the Gospel and a love for the Church.

"Donald’s ministry has been valued by men and women in ministry across the traditions.

"He is pastoral, a great preacher and teacher, and the Diocese of Peterborough can look forward to receiving a godly and gracious bishop.

"We shall miss him tremendously, but are thrilled that his gifts and expertise are going to bless the wider Church."

As Bishop of Peterborough, Donald will oversee the mission, ministry and administration of an ancient diocese that has more than 360 parishes and covers Northamptonshire, Rutland and most of the city of Peterborough.

He will join 43 other diocesan bishops of the Church of England.