Cheers! Archbishop lines up among latest Canterbury pilgrims

THE Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu refused to rule out the heady prospect of becoming the first black Archbishop of Canterbury when he toured the John Smith’s Brewery at Tadcaster yesterday.

The charismatic prelate is widely tipped to take up the position following the decision by Dr Rowan Williams to step down after a decade at the helm of the Anglican church.

Asked directly whether he would be interested he replied: “I am extremely happy to be in Yorkshire and people need to understand that I never look to the future. Those who look to the future are disappointed.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

And earlier asked whether he might move southwards he said “I’m still here. I have been here six years. Yorkshire is a fantastic place,” adding that he loved “the directness” of Yorkshire folk “and their friendliness”.

And he had an equally deft reply when encouraged by photographers to sample a well-earned pint of beer in the fleeting spring sunshine – explaining that it was Lent and he would not be raising a glass to his lips another three weeks.

He had warm words for the departing Dr Williams saying: “He is a real brother to me in Christ.”

Although Dr Sentamu is far and away the frontrunner other contenders to replace Dr Williams include Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, who is close to members of the Royal Family, gave the address at the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last year and is known for campaigning on environmental issues. And Liverpool-born Nick Baines, 54, Bishop of Bradford, known as the “blogging bishop”, is also viewed as a contender for the post.

Prime Minister David Cameron led the numerous tributes to Dr Williams describing him as a man of “great” learning and humility.