Prestigious posthumous honour for Berwick resident

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A Berwick resident has been posthumously honoured by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Michael Wright died earlier this summer after a tragic accident – he fell whilst out walking and died from his head injuries.

His time in north Northumberland saw him become an important part of the community. The former president of the Berwick Probus Club also had key roles with the Berwick Literary Festival, the local literary and philosophical society and the U3A, as well as being a member of a number of choirs.

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The honour awarded to him this week, the Cross of St Augustine, is one of the highest and longest-standing honours in the gift of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Michael Wright.Michael Wright.
Michael Wright.

Pamela, his widow, said that she was both proud and enormously moved by the honour and was only sorry that Michael was not present to receive it himself.

Michael, whose Christian faith set the compass for his entire life, had a distinguished career in higher education. In 1997, he was appointed principal of Christ Church College, Canterbury, and became its first Vice Chancellor when it became a university.

Christ Church University is a Christian foundation and he threw himself wholeheartedly into the Church in Canterbury and Kent.

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He was a member of Canterbury Cathedral chapter, a member of the Council of Rochester Cathedral and also, very significantly, the chair of the Lambeth Conference Company.

The Lambeth Conference gathers hundreds of Anglican bishops from across the world every 10 years. The latest conference is currently taking place and much of the early administrative and financial preparations will have been master-minded by Michael and his committee.

Born within the sound of the roar at St James’ Park in Newcastle, his love of football would also be life-long and in recent years this included regularly taking his grandson to watch Berwick Rangers at Shielfield Park.

Michael, a graduate of the University of Birmingham, began his career as a law lecturer in Bristol. From Bristol, he moved to Glasgow as head of department at Glasgow’s Caledonian University.

He then moved to Edinburgh to become assistant principal of Napier University before the move to Kent for the principal role at Christ Church 25 years ago.