At the monthly slot for questions to the Church Commissioners in the House of Commons today (Thursday 12th June), Michael Fabricant praised the work of Stephen Sutton and congratulated Lichfield Cathedral for organising its vigil for him. The extract from today’s Hansard reads:-
The right hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—
1. Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con): If he will visit Lichfield cathedral to discuss the service of remembrance and celebration of the life of Stephen Sutton.
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Sir Tony Baldry): I am always happy to visit Lichfield cathedral. The whole country will have celebrated the life and achievements of Stephen Sutton. The recent service of remembrance and celebration at Lichfield cathedral demonstrates the importance of cathedrals as a focus for unity at times of local and national celebration, commemoration and mourning.
Michael Fabricant: It is a shame in this instance that the Archbishop of Canterbury is not empowered to confer sainthoods. Will my right hon. Friend join me in congratulating Adrian Dorber, the dean of Lichfield cathedral, on seizing the moment and taking advantage, in the best possible way, of the great outpouring of passion and grief that people in my constituency experienced over the great work and life of a 19-year-old who died of cancer?
Sir Tony Baldry: I agree that the experience of holding a vigil at Lichfield cathedral for Stephen Sutton helped to focus national attention on the remarkable courage and exuberance with which Stephen lived his last three years of life. He managed to raise £4 million for the Teenage Cancer Trust by telling his story and through his determination to make every moment of his life count.
Michael Fabricant now says “I have been struck by the number of people in Burntwood and Lichfield – and also down in London who had seen the event on television – who have said to me how moving the service was at Lichfield Cathedral in memory of the life and work of Stephen Sutton.
“The dean of the Cathedral, Adrian Dorber, struck just the right tone in his remarks and in how the service was conducted. The Cathedral became the focus of remembrance and attracted believers and atheists alike. It was at the centre of our community and the Cathedral and its clergy did Stephen, and those who remember him, proud.”