A DORSET-born Bishop preached his final Ash Wednesday sermon at Salisbury Cathedral.

Preaching before a congregation of 350, the Rt Reverend Michael Perham announced he sadly expects this to be his last Easter after undergoing his final round of treatment for a malignant brain tumour.

Born in Dorchester, Revd Michael attended the Thomas Hardye School, before becoming team rector at St George’s, Oakdale, and later serving as the Bishop of Gloucester from 2004 until 2014.

Addressing the congregation Revd Perham said: "A whole diocese in common prayer for one another each day. It’s a powerful thought. Better still, a powerful reality and it is all about praying together."

The Ash Wednesday sermon focused on the importance of traditional Lent practices including fasting and prayer.

He said: "An age where there is more food on the supermarket shelves than ever before needs to learn the wisdom of fasting. A world where we rush from one excitement or another, or one duty to another, needs space and silence that leads to prayer.

"A culture of indulgence needs abstinence, a society that has lost its moral certainties need repentance. A generation that communicates by sound-bites needs spiritual reading, a Church that celebrates a friendly, accessible compassionate God needs music that pulls us up short before the majesty and the holiness of God."