THE rhythm of drums isn’t something you’d expect to hear in a country church.

Newly ordained Paul Pritchard has moved to Barnton with his family after being appointed curate at Christ Church alongside vicar Dave Mock.

The 44-year-old musician demonstrated his percussion skills inside the 160-year-old Anglican church on Church Road.

“I’ve played drums as long as I can remember,” said Paul, of Townfield Road. “My dad John has always been in a band. My earliest memory is of watching Lez Zeppelin when I was five.

“My dad had a recording studio so I grew up round music. I love jazz and soul music.”

Paul and his wife Ann, a teacher, have three children Abi, 18, and Moses, 14, and Benji, 12. The boys attend Hartford High School.

“We love Barnton,” said Paul, who worked as a tutor, supply teacher and science technician before training to become a curate.

“It’s a really friendly village with loads of beautiful countryside.

“I’m really excited about ministry here.”

Paul was ordained in July after two years residential training in Oxford.

“I’ve done all the book training and preached in rural churches,” he said.

“Now I’m an apprentice, learning full-time what a vicar does.”

Paul grew up as an atheist and only discovered Christianity when he was 23 after meeting his wife at a party.

“We got married quickly, in four weeks ,” said Paul. “We met in June and married in July 1997,” said Paul

The couple became christians six months later in Manchester where Paul was studying for a biology degree.

“I started thinking what life is all about. Suddenly lyrics from songs came alive. I decided to buy a bible and we went to a gospel concert. I suddenly realised I needed God.”

Paul led the founding of a new church in Stockport and then joined St Chad’s parish church in Romiley where he preached and played drums and percussion in the worship team.

He helped to lead alpha and was an assistant and group leader.

Being part of a church community, he says, helped them to cope with their own bereavement.

“We had a couple of babies born unable to breathe,” said Paul. “To have the church as family looking out for us and praying for us was really important. We really did feel God’s presence and comfort.”

Paul now wants to support the farming community.

“Both our dads are from the Welsh valleys,” said Paul, who has a border collie called Ollie.

“Farming can be really lonely and isolated.

“I want to reach out to the agricultural community and celebrate what they are doing and value it.

“I’m really looking forward to my time here.”