Rector announces his move to Malta

The rector of Northampton town centre's main church has announced plans to leave the country for a Mediterranean life.

The Rev Simon Godfrey will move to a new parish in Malta later this year.

His move comes after being based at All Saints' Church in the centre of Northampton for almost two decades.

The clergyman made the announcement in a newsletter handed out to churchgoers yesterday.

A statement from the church explained that one of the keen musician's initial tasks, once he started work in Malta, would be to boost his new church's musical reputation.

It said: "One of Fr Simon's tasks upon reaching Valletta will be spearheading the organ restoration project and bringing the wealth of expertise he has amassed from his time developing the Choral Foundation of All Saints' to the musical life of the Cathedral."

Mr Godfrey, who was born in London and educated in Devon, was made Vicar of All Saints' Church in 1989 and became Rector of Northampton in 1998.

He is also a chaplain to the forces in the Territorial Army, the Army Cadet Force chaplain for Northamptonshire, county chaplain for the Royal British Legion and county chaplain of the St John Ambulance.

His next post will be as Chancellor at St Paul's Anglican Pro-Cathedral in the Maltese capital, Valletta.

He is due to take on the role in June this year at the church, which dates from 1839.

The Maltese church was built thanks to a donation from the widow of British King William IV, Queen Adelaide.

After she visited Malta in 1838, she was dismayed to find out the island had no proper Anglican church.

To solve the problem, she donated the modern equivalent of 20,000 towards creating the building.

Despite Malta suffering heavy bombing during World War Two, the church escaped any serious damage.

It was later visited by the Queen, who was then Princess Elizabeth, when she went to see Prince Phillip while he was serving on Malta in 1949.

During his time in Northampton, Mr Godfrey has also overseen an official Royal visit, when Prince Charles called into All Saints' Church in 2002.

Mr Godfrey was also at the church when a major restoration project was carried out to create All Saints' Square in front of the church.