Hitchin church’s tribute to Father Michael Lambert after death aged 79

PUBLISHED: 12:21 05 December 2018

Father Michael Lambert has died aged 79. Picture: Catholic church of Our Lady Immaculate & St Andrew

Father Michael Lambert has died aged 79. Picture: Catholic church of Our Lady Immaculate & St Andrew

Archant

The church of Father Michael Lambert, who was “known and loved in every congregation in Hitchin”, has paid tribute to him after his tragic death aged 79.

Father Michael Lambert. Picture: Catholic church of Our Lady Immaculate & St AndrewFather Michael Lambert. Picture: Catholic church of Our Lady Immaculate & St Andrew

The much-loved priest was involved in a collision with a white Citroën C3 in Nightingale Road on Wednesday afternoon, and was taken to Lister Hospital in Stevenage where he died from his injuries on Sunday.

Father Michael was a retired priest of the Catholic church of Our Lady Immaculate & St Andrew, based in Nightingale Road.

His parish has released a statement in tribute, which said: “Father Michael was ordained as a priest of the Augustinians of the Assumption in March 1966, and served communities in Rickmansworth, London’s Brockley, Bethnal Green and Charlton – and even in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

“He arrived in Hitchin in 2000, as parish priest of the Catholic church of Our Lady Immaculate & St Andrew, and began his service to the people of the town which continued, even in his retirement.

Father Michael Lambert has died aged 79. Picture: Catholic church of Our Lady Immaculate & St Andrew Father Michael Lambert has died aged 79. Picture: Catholic church of Our Lady Immaculate & St Andrew

“He presided over hundreds of baptisms and scores of marriages and funerals, making lifelong friendships with many of those whom he served.

“He accompanied all the people in this parish and many people in the town through their busy and changing lives.

“He was known and loved in every congregation in Hitchin, and all feel his loss keenly.

“Father Michael was a great supporter of Churches Together in Hitchin, attending meetings, preaching at pulpit exchanges and acting as chair in 2007.

Father Michael Lambert preaching at church. Picture: Catholic church of Our Lady Immaculate & St AndrewFather Michael Lambert preaching at church. Picture: Catholic church of Our Lady Immaculate & St Andrew

“He was instrumental in a church-twinning visit to Bingen, our twin town.

“One of his last acts was to attend the farewell to Canon Michael Roden at St Mary’s, with whom he had a special friendship.

“He served the sick as a chaplain at Lister Hospital and he served the young as a governor at Our Lady RC Primary School in Hitchin and The John Henry Newman School in Stevenage, for many years.

“He preached and prayed – and even cycled for charity in Market Place, on occasion.

“Father Michael became a familiar sight on the streets of Hitchin, in all weathers, walking to visit people with his rosary in his hand, always calling out a cheery, ‘Praise the Lord!’ and ‘Bless your heart!’, as he met friends and acquaintances.

“His death leaves a large gap in our community.”

At 4.30pm on Sunday, December 16, there will be a reception of Father Michael’s body at Our Lady’s, followed by mass at 5pm and a celebration and tributes with refreshments in the church hall at 6pm.

The following day at the church there will be requiem mass at 11am, followed by refreshments. The burial will take place at 1pm at St John’s Cemetery and, after this, it’s back to the church for refreshments.

Everyone is welcome to any part of this celebration of Father Michael’s life. Our Lady’s is especially keen for people to share their memories of him or pay a tribute to him on the Sunday evening.

If you would like to do so, call Trish Bonnett on 01462 459126 or 07801 752141.

Anyone with information about the crash should contact Herts police on 101.

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