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Knighthood for bishop who chaired Hillsborough panel

03 January 2017


Bishop James Jones: chairing the Hillsborough panel of inquiry was “the climax of his ministry in Liverpool

Bishop James Jones: chairing the Hillsborough panel of inquiry was “the climax of his ministry in Liverpool

THE former Bishop of Liverpool the Rt Revd James Jones, who chaired an independent panel of inquiry into the Hillsborough football disaster, has been knighted in the New Year Honours list, for services to bereaved families and justice.

Bishop Jones was widely praised for his chairmanship of the Hillsborough Independent Panel. It concluded in 2012 that 41 of the 96 who had died as a result of the disaster at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, might have survived with better medical care. He served as the Bishop of Liverpool from 1998 until 2013.

A Hillsborough protester, Professor Phil Scraton, who led the panel’s research team, revealed last week that he had turned down an OBE in protest at those who “remained unresponsive” to the campaign for truth and justice.

Bishop Jones, an adviser to the Home Office on Hillsborough, said that he had “mixed emotions” on accepting the KBE, “because of the enduring sadness of the families who continue to feel the loss of their loved ones at Hillsborough”.

The inquiry, he said, had been “very much the climax” of his 15 years as Bishop of Liverpool. “It brought together three foundational values of my ministry: compassion, justice, and truth. Meeting with the families to publish our report on 12 September 2012, and seeing justice ring out truth in the house of God, I felt, summed up my ministry.” The honour was “shared with the outstanding panel that I worked with, and an outstanding secretariat of civil servants”, he said.

A few months after accepting the chair, Bishop Jones was diagnosed with a heart condition and underwent a triple bypass. “Amazingly, through the help of doctors and nurses, I was able to chair all but two of the 40 meetings of the panel,” he said. “But I do remember very vividly, when I was recovering from the operation, asking God whether I would be able to get up off the bed, and complete the work.

“I realised the tension in asking that question, because there I was, praying to God to heal me, and this was a God who had observed 96 people dying on the stands at Hillsborough.”

Bishop Jones now chairs a forum that allows the Hillsborough families to meet the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the police investigation team Operation Resolve, and the Crown Prosecution Service. He is also writing a report on the families’ experiences, “so that lessons could be learnt for the future, so that their perspective is not lost”. It is to be published in the spring.


Churchpeople in list

AMONG other churchpeople named in the Honours list is the actress Patricia Routledge CBE, who is appointed a Dame (DBE) for services to theatre and charity. She is an ambassador for the charity Royal Voluntary Service.

The veteran Liberal Democrat politician Baroness Williams of Crosby, a prominent Roman Catholic, has been appointed a Companion of Honour, for services to political and public life. There are also knighthoods for Julian Brazier MP, David Crausby MP, and the former Liberal Democrat MP Steve Webb.

The former director of the Archbishops’ Council’s Cathedrals and Church Buildings Division, Janet Gough, has been appointed OBE for services to heritage. “This comes as a great surprise,” she said last week. “It is as much recognition for my colleagues at Church House, on the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England and the Church Buildings Council and in the dioceses.”

The same honour also goes to the Chief Executive of the Churches Conservation Trust, Crispin Truman, for services to heritage, and charitable foundations. He is a founding member of the European network Future Religious Heritage, and an international-advisory-panel member at the Foundation for Jewish Heritage.

The assistant director of further education for the commercial and legal unit of the Department for Education, the Revd Jennifer Mullis, has been appointed OBE for services to further education and to the community in Yorkshire. Julie Bullous, former executive head teacher of the Federation of Mary Howard and St Andrew’s C of E Primary Schools, Tamworth, and Donna Cornwell, associate head teacher of Swaffham Bulbeck C of E Primary School, Cambridge, receive the same honour.

Also in education, there are MBEs for the deputy head teacher of Dr Radcliffe’s, a C of E school in Oxfordshire, Guy Brigg; the head teacher of Holy Trinity C of E Primary School, Richmond, Penelope Cox; a former physics teacher at the Blue Coat School, Liverpool, Keith Caulkin; the head teacher of Bishop Barrington School in Bishop Auckland, Jacqueline Gent; and a former chair of governors of St Andrew’s and St Mark’s C of E Junior School, Surbiton, Emma Kortright.

Also among the MBEs are Nigel Bumphrey, a silversmith, appointed for services to the Church in Norfolk, where he is on the diocesan advisory committee, and has helped to reunite lost items of church plate; an area manager of children’s services for the Children’s Society, Kerry Clancy-Horner, from Chelmsford; Glyn Morgan, Chapter Clerk and Chief Executive of Hereford Cathedral, for services to the cathedral and the community in Herefordshire; and the Revd Robert Nelson, a retired priest, for services to homeless people and the community in Wirral, Merseyside. The Revd Dr Harriet Harris, Scottish Episcopalian Chaplain of the University of Edinburgh, is appointed MBE for services to multifaith education and community cohesion, and Dr Desmond Biddulph, president of the Buddhist Society, is appointed CBE for services to interfaith relations.

Marcia Shakespeare, the mother of Letisha, who was shot dead outside a hair salon in Birmingham in 2003, is appointed MBE for her work campaigning against gun crime and gangs.

The Priest-in-Charge of the Church of the Resurrection, Glanely, in Cardiff, the Revd Janet Gould, is awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community. Mrs Gould was a professional viola player before she trained for ordination. She organises volunteers from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and professional musicians, to teach music to schoolchildren in the church hall each week. “I am very humbled by this award,” she said.

Other recipients of the BEM include the Revd Olive Cope, an honorary curate of St Andrew’s Enfield, for services to the community; the Revd Freda Jackson, a retired priest, for services to the community in Middleton, Greater Manchester; John Campbell, Dean’s Verger at Lincoln Cathedral, for services to the Church in Lincoln; Norman Pullen, head sidesman at Exeter Cathedral, for services to Exeter Cathedral and to the community; Robert McGonigle, parish administrator of St Columb’s Cathedral, for services to built heritage and tourism in Londonderry; and Vijey Rattan, for services to interfaith relations in Enfield.

This year, 9.3 per cent of OBEs were awarded to black, Asian, and minority-ethnic recipients — the largest proportion in its history. Just over half of all recipients were women.

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