A NEW director is set to be installed for the historic Whalley Abbey this weekend.

Lancashire curate Rev Anna Walker is set to take up the post officially from Sunday.

Bishop of Blackburn, Right Rev Philip North, will lead a special commissioning service at the nearby St Mary’s Parish Church from 2pm.

Church leaders say there will also be prayers said in the abbey ruins after the service, followed by refreshments.

A Blackburn Diocese spokesman said: "Anna has been ordained for many years and, following a move from Finland to the UK, most recently served as curate in the parishes of St Aidan’s Bamber Bridge and St Leonard’s Walton-le-Dale.

"Our ancient abbey site has been revitalised in more recent times as our Diocesan ‘Centre for Christian Discipleship and Prayer’.

"It is open to people from our many parishes, but also to anyone from Lancashire and beyond who wants to take time out in a wonderful and peaceful setting."

Bishop Philip said: "I’m really looking forward to the commissioning service this Sunday. It will be an important moment in the life of our diocese.

“Anna has a strong and clear vision of how to continue the growth of Whalley Abbey. She and her husband Andrew are passionate about living in the community, providing a place of prayer and hospitality and helping to form new and deep disciples for Jesus Christ.”

Anna added: “I am very excited about this opportunity to be working at such a wonderful place of prayer, encounter, learning and challenge.

"I can't wait to settle into the rhythm of prayer at the abbey and welcome more people to deepen their spirituality and discipleship.”