THE region formally welcomed its first ever female bishop at a service held in Bristol Cathedral.

The Rt Revd Vivienne Faull took up the role in July, but was officially welcomed as Bishop of Bristol at the special ceremony on Saturday.

After arriving aboard the service aboard the Bristol Packet ship Tower Belle, she was accompanied to the cathedral by local schoolchildren and a Salvation Army band.

At the cathedral's huge west door, Bishop Viv knocked at the wood with her pastoral staff - an ancient tradition.

The former Dean of York Cathedral said: “This is a service filled with celebration and prayer which marks the beginning of my public ministry in this Diocese. I am grateful for the many ecumenical and diocesan representatives who are supporting me in the service and will be assisting in the worship.

“I do look forward with great anticipation to all that lies ahead for the Diocese of Bristol. I have been sustained by the welcome I have received and the assurance of the prayers of so many, and continue to hold the Diocese in my prayers.”

More than 700 guests were invited to the ceremony, including the High Sheriff of Wiltshire and the county's Deputy Lord Lieutenant.