The head verger of Blackburn Cathedral has suffered an unprovoked attack as he stood in the cathedral’s nave, according to the Lancashire Telegraph.
Mark Pickering, 36, suffered head injuries, two broken ribs and a fractured elbow after he was punched, stamped on and hit several times with a large church candle.
He was standing in the nave of the cathedral at around 2pm when he was targeted. The attacker fled the scene when members of staff rushed to help Mr Pickering, who was taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital where he had surgery on his arm.
The Very Rev Christopher Armstrong, Dean of the Cathedral, said: “This was an unprovoked attack on one of the cathedral staff.
“Mr Pickering was just making polite conversation when the attack happened.
“It is a huge shock to us all. This sort of level of attack happens very rarely, but it is the worst I have known for 14 years.”
He described Pickering as “one of the stars of the cathedral staff” who was “widely acknowledged as a brilliant carer and reconciliator, not only by the cathedral staff, but also members of the public who deal with him”.
The Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev Julian Henderson, said: “I was concerned to hear about what happened to the Cathedral verger, Mark Pickering.
“I have contacted the Dean today and Mark is in all of our prayers as he recovers from his injuries.”
Local MP Jack Straw told the Lancashire Telegraph: “This is a terrible thing for Mr Pickering who has been at the cathedral for a long time.
“He has been a loyal servant to the cathedral for so many years.”
A spokeswoman for Lancashire Police said an investigation was under way and that a 24-year-old man was being questioned by officers.
Source: Christian Today