THE Bishop of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa rolled up his sleeves on a visit to Blackburn, helping lay some bricks at a new housing development.

The Most Revd Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis came to the borough to discuss social, religious and housing issues.

He was invited by Dr Shannon Ledbetter, a canon at Blackburn Cathedral, and chairman of Liverpool-based housing charity Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat is building homes for Christians in Cairo, and looking to extend its work to Blackburn.

He attended Orchard Grove housing development in Darwen, where he contributed to the build, and met staff and students at Blackburn College.

Dr Ledbetter said: “Habitat for Humanity helps to provide an alternative route on to the property ladder for families who could not ordinarily afford a home of their own.

“In offering his support to the homes being built at Orchard Grove, Bishop Mouneer has helped to promote the charity’s model.

“This could potentially provide homes in Blackburn with Darwen, whose council is looking at building opportunities to bring Habitat for Humanity into the area.

“In Bishop Mouneer’s home city of Cairo, the charity is building homes for Christians who are living in garbage dumps.

“We are all extremely pleased to have his support because building communities and lives also builds reconciliation and peace.”

The visit took place during National Shared Ownership Week which promotes the scheme as an effective method for first-time buyers to get a footing on the property ladder.

Bishop Mouneer met with Steve Jackson, regional managing director of Wates Living Space, and representatives from Groundwork Pennine Lancashire and Together Housing to dis- cuss housing issues in the region.

He visited various areas in the North West as part of his trip to the UK to attend the enthronement of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury.