THE OUTGOING Bishop of Brentwood who is standing down after more than 34 years in the post said he has enjoyed his time in the role.

Thomas McMahon ranked seeing the construction of the new cathedral, visits to the diocese by Popes John Paul II and Benedict and working with the priests and people of the diocese among the many highlights of his tenure.

He will continue to work as a priest as that is what he enjoys most.

He said: “I have been hugely privileged to be Bishop of this diocese for 34 years and now it is time to look to the future.”

Paying tribute to Bishop McMahon, the Bishop of Chelmsford, Steven Cotterill said: “Although we have known for some years that Bishop Thomas would be retiring, it still comes as a bit of a shock to realise that he will not be around for much longer.

“He is greatly loved and hugely respected by Christians of all denominations, people of other faiths and many others across Essex and East London. His commitment to Christian unity and his passion for justice have left a permanent mark of goodness in our communities.”

Father Alan Williams, the successor of Bishop Thomas, said: “I would like to pay tribute to Bishop Thomas McMahon for his faithful and long service to the diocese.”