Church apologises after it refused to put up plaque in memory of Wigan grandmother

The Church of England has apologised to the family of a Wigan worshipper whose efforts to honour her in the town fell on deaf ears.

Friday, 25th January 2019, 10:16 am
Updated Friday, 25th January 2019, 11:25 am
David R. Boden is trying to get a plaque put in Wigan Parish Church

David R. Boden spoke out after years of attempts to have a small plaque put up in Wigan Parish Church to well-known former congregation member Phyllis Read came to nothing.

The Liverpool diocese has now said it is very sorry no-one responded to Mr Boden’s messages about remembering his grandmother, whose many roles at the historic place of worship over 40 years included being president of the Mother’s Union, serving as a trustee and organising fund-raisers and cleaning rotas.

It has now promised to discuss a permanent memorial with Mr Boden, while the Rector of Wigan, Rev Will Gibbons, also asked the family to get in touch with him.

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Phyllis Read

Mr Boden had been saddened by the previous apparent lack of interest in the plaque and had brought the matter up again for his father David Boden who wanted to see it put up and is currently battling cancer.

Mr Boden, 43, said: “I was looking for the church to offer some Christian charity and help a man do what he wants to do. Is that too much to ask them to offer a man who is not in the best of health?

“It was my dad’s one simple wish to pay and fully arrange for a small plaque to go into the church to commemorate his mum.

“My grandmother was a well-known character in Wigan over the years and I’m sure a plaque for her will be popular.

“You always get older ladies who run everything in a church. That was my grandmother at Wigan Parish Church.”

Mr Boden said his father was knocked back soon after Mrs Read died in 2014 and his own attempts to contact the Bishop of Liverpool about it resulted in a message saying it was being looked into in late 2017 followed by silence.

The diocese has admitted it should not have dealt with Mr Boden’s request in that way and promised to see what it can do to honour Mrs Read.

A spokesperson said: “The Bishop of Liverpool apologises to Mr Boden for his office not responding sooner to the letter. It is inexcusable to have left it so long and we are truly sorry for any distress this may have caused.

“As a result the bishop has asked a senior adviser, Canon Bob Lewis, to contact Mr Boden about this matter.

“We understand that All Saints Church received several requests from deserving individuals for memorial plaques. Mr Boden recognises that as a historic church they cannot simply put plaques up everywhere.

“However, Canon Bob will talk to Mr Boden about what suitable ways to recognise his grandmother’s life, achievements and immense contribution to All Saints Church and the Wigan Mothers’ Union.”