A former army officer and a ‘natural leader’ has been appointed to a new church role.

James Talbot, 29, will serve as deacon at All Saints’ church in Woodford Wells.

He spent a year as an officer in the British Army before going on to read philosophy and theology at Durham University.

Mr Talbot said: “I am immensely looking forward to serving the community and the church who have welcomed us so warmly.

“This is the first time we have lived in any proximity to London and it’s absolutely fantastic to have access to these wide open green spaces.”

Paul Harcourt, the vicar at All Saints’ church said: “We’re delighted that James and his family have joined us and he will bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the team.

“His background includes work in the Army, with outdoor pursuits and in schools, so he is used to relating to a wide range of people.

“James is a good speaker and a natural leader.”

Mr Talbot has been married to his Emma, 28, for five years and they have a son, Ewan.