A ROCK-and-rolling vicar whose efforts helped keep his church at the heart of its community is to move on.

The Rev Tim Storey has been rector of St Peter and St Paul church in Blandford for over a decade.

In that time, he has seen the opening of a new parish centre, which he celebrated by inviting football fans in to watch the 2010 World Cup.

And he sang and played lead guitar in the band Dogs Without Collars, which consisted of five Dorset clergymen.

Mr Storey is moving to a large parish in Telford, Shropshire, where he will be responsible for five vicars.

“I’ve been here nearly 11 years and the children are in further education so it seemed the time was right to move on,” he said.

Mr Storey was ordained at Wells in 1994 and spent four years as a curate in Bath and five as a team vicar in Southampton before coming to Blandford.

He said the church had been at the heart of the community, as shown by the success of its Yuletide festival, which last year attracted 5,000 people.

“To bring the community together is a great privilege and immensely rewarding,” he said.

“The church in Blandford is smack bang in the middle of the marketplace. It’s significant it’s in the centre of the town and it’s played an important part in people’s lives throughout the generations. So being a part of that community means being there not just for births, deaths and marriages but for all the bits in between as well.

“Blandford is a very close-knit community. Whenever I walk anywhere, it always takes me a long time because people stop and say hello.

“I’m going to miss that because Telford is a much bigger town with a different community feel.”

He said one of his proudest times was the building of the parish centre.

“It’s wonderful when there’s a vision for something and when the vision comes to fruition, it’s exactly what you hoped it would be,” he said.

“The parish centre is doing exactly what we hoped it would.”

Mr Storey, 53, will move to Telford with wife Claire, a teaching assistant. Daughters Hannah, 22, and Jess, 18, are both in higher education.

“Dogs Without Collars disbanded last summer “in anticipation that one of us would be moving on before long”, he said.