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Cathedral to host thanksgiving service following death of former Bishop of Lichfield

A thanksgiving service for a former Bishop of Lichfield will take place on May 10.

The Right Revd Keith Sutton became the 97th Bishop in 1984, serving until his retirement in 2003.

A portrait of former Bishop of Lichfield Keith Sutton painted by Andrew Festing

A portrait of former Bishop of Lichfield Keith Sutton painted by Andrew Festing

He died aged 82 in March at a care home in Surrey after living with dementia for many years.

A service will now be held at Lichfield Cathedral at 12.30pm on May 10.

Tributes from across the globe have been received since his death, with the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, describing his former friend as someone with “a big heart”.

Dr Sentamu said: “Bishop Keith loved people and was passionate about communicating the Gospel in a language they would understand.

“He was a pastor, a theological educator, a friend, an encourager, with a big heart for the poor and marginalised.

“We give thanks to God for his life, work and ministry. He will be greatly missed by his family here and around the Anglican Communion.”

Bishop Keith was responsible for a link-up between Lichfield and a diocese in Kuching, Malaysia.

Archbishop Moon Hing said: “It was a privilege and delight to serve under Bishop Keith Sutton for ten years prior to his retirement.

“He was first and foremost a truly godly and loving Christian person. He loved people, remembered their names and was interested in them, and they loved him.

“During the years when his beloved wife Jeannie was suffering increasingly from dementia, this love expressed itself in the spontaneous outpouring of help by many people, and in the never-failing warmth of Keith’s welcome in their home.”

Gavin Drake, the director of communications for the Diocese of Lichfield between 2002 and 2011 described Bishop Keith as “a legend”.

“He was a bishop who was known and loved by wider society as much as by the church,” he said. “He was a powerful advocate for the Gospel in society but also for the region in Parliament.

“He was a bit of a local celebrity and extremely pastorally minded with all he met.

“He was also an incredibly humble man. I will never forget how, during an extended interview with Ed Doolan on BBC WM, he was embarrassed – in a nice way – when Ed played an interview clip of Archbishop Desmond Tutu paying tribute to him for his work in South Africa at the height of apartheid.

“He was often singing the praises of others, but he found it hard to accept praise himself.”

All are welcome to the thanksgiving service but this who plan to attend are asked to email

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.