Blocking the gates to an atomic weapons research centre and taking communion outside a weapons store aren’t typical activities for a bishop.

But for the Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, voicing his opposition to nuclear weapons is an important part of his Christian faith.

Bishop Stephen, 52, who grew up in Sylvan Way, Leigh, and attended Belfairs High School between 1969 and 1976, has always supported the peace movement, but it wasn’t until he became Bishop of Reading in 2004 that he began to take part in protests.

The position required him to move to the village of Tidmarsh, in Berkshire, seven miles from Aldermaston – home of the Atomic Weapons Establishment, where the UK’s nuclear weaponry is developed, maintained and scrapped.

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