A SUSTAINED assault has left the head verger of Blackburn
Cathedral with two broken ribs, elbow injuries requiring surgery,
and lesions to the head.
Mark Pickering, the Dean's Verger, was "repeatedly hit and
kicked" on Monday afternoon, the Dean, the Rt Revd Christopher
Armstrong, confirmed on Wednesday.
Another member of staff intervened, and the police were called.
A 24-year-old man, who was known to the cathedral team, was later
arrested and has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
"It is very rare to have an attack of this violence," Dean
Armstrong said. "I have not known anything like this in my 14 years
at the cathedral. But cathedrals are public places, and all sorts
of people gather and visit for a variety of reasons. We would not
want to stop that, but we have to protect our staff."
Current security arrangements were "adequate", he said, but
there would be a review in the wake of the attack.
Mr Pickering, who is 36, and has a young family, has worked at
the cathedral for 12 years. The Dean said that he had a "huge
reputa- tion locally and nationally as being a sympathetic and
He said: "I would like to pay tribute to the vergers of all
cathedrals and places of worship, because they really are frontline
troops in an increasingly difficult situation."