Church leader is battling brain tumour

ONE of Suffolk's leading religious figures was yesterday due to undergo surgery after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Laurence Cawley

ONE of Suffolk's leading religious figures was yesterday due to undergo surgery after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

The Very Rev Neil Collings became the Dean of St Edmundsbury in September 2006 when he moved to Suffolk from Exeter.

Yesterday, the Diocese of St Edmundsbury said Mr Collings had been admitted to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge where he was due to undergo surgery.

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A diocesan spokesman said urged the public to keep Mr Collings and those operating on him in their prayers.

He said: “The cathedral office is monitoring developments and we will issue updates when we know more.

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“At this stage, Neil wishes not to receive visitors or phone calls. However, good wishes can be left with the cathedral office.”

Mr Collings, who had previously served as treasurer at Exeter Cathedral for seven years, replaced the Very Rev James Atwell as dean.

Shortly after joining the team at St Edmundsbury, Mr Collings said he was looking forward to serving the local community and told of his strong family links with Suffolk.

“I feel very excited but also a bit nervous about becoming dean as it is a big job - but I'm thrilled about it all,” he said at the time.

“I look forward to working with the community of St Edmundsbury Cathedral and everyone in this diocese and the people of Suffolk.

“St James has been described as the apostle of hope and I believe we Christians today have the supreme mission of taking this message to the men, women and children of our generation.”

“My grandmother grew up in Rougham, and my great grandparents are buried in the churchyard there.

“It brings me a great feeling of satisfaction - it is nice to come somewhere I feel I have a very strong link, it is already feeling a little like home.”

Prior to installing Mr Collings as the cathedral's dean, the Rt Rev Richard Lewis, then the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, said: “He (Mr Collings) brings a range of experience, warmth and enthusiasm, which will help in taking our cathedral into a new phase of its life in the diocese and county.”

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