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02 December 2014

Sir Fred Catherwood remembered

The former president of the Evangelical Alliance UK and "pioneer in the faith at work movement" has sadly died this week. 

Sir Fred Catherwood, who gave up his seat as MEP for Cambridge and North Bedfordshire in 1993 to continue being the Alliance's president full-time, spearheaded the campaign to join evangelical churches together in a social action network. 

Peter Lynas, director of the Northern Ireland Evangelical Alliance, said: "Sir Fred Catherwood was a great Northern Irish export and pioneer of the faith at work movement, who will be sadly missed." 

Sir Fred devoted his time to encouraging evangelicals to be effective in their social care and evangelism, particularly in inner-cities. 

The former vice president of the European Parliament had a love for politics, but recognised that the Church was closer to the "human wreckage of today's society". 

When he left politics he toured the country speaking in churches, as President of the Alliance, with the aim of encouraging them to join together and to encourage them to carry out vital community care. 

Sir Fred said: "Evangelical churches and organisations are facing much of the human wreckage of today's society. They are dealing with the traumas of wrecked marriages, reaching out to teenagers who have been abandoned by their families. I want to help them help each other in this vital work."

Christian citizenship was a subject of great interest to the Ulsterman, who had a successful career in business before heading to the Brussels to oppose Labour's move to pull Britain out of Europe in the 1980s. 

He holidayed with his wife Elizabeth in Wales, after "refusing to cross the Straits of Dover" for a holiday. 

"No foreign languages, now foreign food and no aeroplanes!" he told the Alliance's idea magazine in 1992 when he became president, as pictured, a role he held until 2001. 

Mike Talbot, the Alliance's current chair of the board, expressed his sorrow in the news of Sir Fred's death. 

He said: "He had a passion for integrating his faith with the public square. That faith was deeply rooted in scripture, and in a love for his Lord –and that shaped all that he did in a significant life of public service." 

He died peacefully on Sunday, 30 November. 

Sir Fred saw his purpose in life very clearly: "We're all given gifts by God and we're told to multiply our talents. We're here for a limited amount of time to do the best of our ability."