Chichester Cathedral to rename building after ‘shocking’ news

George Bell House, in Chichester
George Bell House, in Chichester

A Chichester Cathedral building will be renamed after it emerged the bishop it was named after had abused a young child.

The Diocese of Chichester has apologised to a victim of former bishop George Bill, who led the diocese from 1929 to 1958.

Current bishop Martin Warner has apologised to the victim on behalf of the diocese.

In the wake of the news, there were already calls from the director of a charity supporting victims of rape and sexual abuse for the cathedral to rename George Bell House.

“We are shocked and saddened by the news about George Bell,” said a cathedral spokeswoman.

“As we come to terms with this deeply troubling news we will be reflecting on George Bell’s legacy here, and as part of this we will be renaming our centre for vocation, education and reconciliation that bears his name: George Bell House.”

The cathedral said the news released on October 22 ‘shocking and deeply saddening’.

“First and foremost, our thoughts are with the survivor of the abuse,” said a cathedral spokeswoman. “It has clearly taken enormous courage and persistence for this person to speak out – particularly against a man who was so influential in the church nationally and internationally.

The abuse of children can have no place in our communities. We strongly encourage anyone who has suffered abuse, however long ago, to feel able to come forwards - they will receive our full support.”

Anyone with further information or who needs to discuss the personal impact of this news, can call a confidential helpline on 0800 389 5344 set up by the church and the NSPCC.

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