VILLAGERS in Whitchurch Canonicorum are delighted to hear Lord Hall of Birkenhead, Tony Hall, is taking on the top job at the BBC.

It was announced last week that Lord Hall would be the next director general of the BBC. He is currently chief executive of the Royal Opera House and is a former BBC news chief.

Lord Hall has a family home in the village and is patron of the Friends of St Candida and Holy Cross Church and is on record as saying how he particularly loves West Dorset.

Cynthia Bain, who is also a member of the Friends group, said: “It is wonderful news. He is an extremely nice man.

“It is very good news that he has been appointed.

“I am sure he will do the job terribly well. He has obviously done the Royal Opera House very well.

“He has a family home here in the village.

“It was his parents home and now he uses it and his grown up children use it.

“We have an organisation called the Friends of St Candida and he loves the church and the purpose of the friends is to raise money for the fabric of the church and keep it in good repair and to have a good time while we are doing it.

“He very kindly consented to lend his name as the patron.

“He does go to the church when he is here.

“My husband and I organise concerts regularly. It is a bit like a busman’s holiday to come to those.”

In a Wall Street Journal interview Lord Hall said: “I love Dorset, which is stunning.

“In West Dorset especially, you have the combination of beautiful countryside and coast.

“The smell and sight of the sea I just love, and I need to have that fix.”

The Friends of St Candida was formally launched by Lord Hall last year and he gave a talk on his life and work.

He drew interesting parallels between his life at the BBC and at the Royal Opera House, giving the memorable example of how a news correspondent in a war zone and a soloist on stage in front of several thousand people, must both ‘get it right’ under pressure.

He talked about the importance of the outreach work now undertaken by Covent Garden, seeking to bring opera to millions of people who would not otherwise have the experience.