A new leader for churches in East London and Essex has been named.

Father Alan Williams, the Director of the Roman Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham will take over the role after the retirement of the Bishop of Brentwood.

The Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell welcomed the announcement.

He said: “Father Williams succeeds the much loved Bishop Thomas McMahon who has been Bishop of Brentwood for as long as most of us can remember.

“I very look forward very much to welcoming Fr Williams to Essex and East London and, building on the strong foundations of ecumenical co-operation and endeavor that Bishop Thomas has pioneered, working alongside him for the cause of the gospel in the communities we serve.

“As Director of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham Fr Alan Williams also has great ecumenical experience and has worked closely with the Anglican shrine.”

Formed in 1917, the Diocese of Brentwood comprises the Administrative County of Essex, the unitary authorities of Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock, and the London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest.