Bedfordshire church launches online Book of Condolence for Sir Tom
5th February 2021
The parish church of St Mary’s, Marston Morteyne, the parish where Captain Sir Tom Moore lived for so many years, has launched an online book of condolence, primarily for the people of Bedfordshire. Anyone may contribute to it, but Bedfordshire residents may identify themselves as such by ticking a box.
The initiative is supported by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis and The Rt Revd Richard Atkinson, Bishop of Bedford who want the communities of Bedford to be able to honour Sir Tom in this way and express their gratitude for his life and sorrow at his loss.
The Bishop said: “The parish church would ordinarily have placed a book of condolence in the church for anyone to use but in a sign of the times, as they cannot visit the church under pandemic rules, this is a way of providing that opportunity to them and a wider group of people at the same time. The entries are being recorded and moderated and we hope to publish as many as is practical, in time. I hope that this will provide people with a chance to express in words what they thought and felt about Sir Tom.”
The Bishop will also preside at St Mary’s Sunday usual Sunday morning service at 10 am which will also be on YouTube, here. During the service Sir Tom and all who have died in the pandemic will be remembered in prayer. The Revd Kate McFarlane, Curate-in-Charge of the church will preach.
St Mary’s has written a prayer for all who mourn his loss. The condolence book and the prayer can be accessed directly via www.sirtom.org and from the parish’s own website: stmarysmarston.org where a link to the YouTube service can also be found.
The Lord Lieutenant and the Bishop also expressed their own thoughts about Sir Tom:
The Lord Lieutenant said:
“We were all so sad to hear that Captain Sir Tom Moore passed away in Bedford Hospital this week and we send our thoughts and prayers to his wonderful family who are grieving the loss of a much- loved father and grandfather.
“Captain Tom was a national treasure who inspired us, and NHS staff, with his gentle, clear and hopeful messages, encouraging us to know that “tomorrow will be a good day.” The image of him walking 100 hundred laps of his garden will always make us believe that we are all capable of doing something to help.
“The twinkle in his eye and his humble dignity touched the hearts of the world and we are proud to honour him as a son of Bedfordshire whose remarkable contribution will be forever remembered by history.”
The Bishop added:
“To so many, Sir Tom represented the best of our courage and character. Though we are sad, we are also profoundly grateful for him and his magnificent contribution over the last year.
“We will be learning lessons from his optimism and can-do approach to life for some time, but for now the impression left on me is of someone for whom it was never too late to make a difference and a powerful statement about the value of each person’s contribution.
“Though we miss him, how much more will his loving and extensive family, who are in our prayers.”