Michael was a stalwart at All Souls Peterborough

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Michael was a stalwart at All Souls Peterborough

Stalwart of All Souls Peterborough, reader, minister of Holy Communion and former Head of Maths, Michael Christopher Norton, has died aged 94.

Michael was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, on August 6, 1928 and his family later moved to Leeds.  During the second world war he was evacuated to a boarding school in the Yorkshire Dales and developed a love of boxing.  In the early post war years he went to Denmark to help build a youth hostel. 

On August 20, 1958, he married Helen Mary Sharpe at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Leeds and they were together for 55 years.  She was a Community Midwife and Michael assisted with transport and carried heavy equipment such as the oxygen bottles.  They had five children and by 2022 there were 12 grandchildren and three great grandchildren, a number of which attended the funeral. 

Michael had kitchen skills and visitors were always well fed.  Invariably there was Grace before meals.  At Christmas Michael would dress up as Santa and there was a family photograph.  He was proud he had established a dynasty of some 20 descendants.  In 1967 the family moved to Peterborough where Michael was Head of Mathematics at Stanground School. 

Michael was committed to All Souls Parish and due to his great faith was involved in the church and its wider church family.  He was a reader, minister of Holy Communion, helped in the sacristy and was involved in choir camps. 

Michael retired from teaching in 1987 and Helen died in 2013.  In his later years he was seen regularly at daily Mass and leading morning prayers.  He had a very loud voice and led the singing but was not always in tune! 

Michael was into modern technology and possessed great IT skills.  He had DVDs, was into social media and mastered smart phones and other gadgets.  In his last few years he used crutches and a wheelchair.  He died in the month of All Souls that Fr Adam said was very appropriate. 

Peter Waszak, All Souls Honorary Archivist added: “Michael had an interest in the church archives and was able to assist me with his photography stills and equipment.  He was able to obtain prints off the c1911 Stations of the Cross glass plate negatives which commercial firms in the city would not touch.  With the All Souls Mission Books he was able to copy old faded photographs of the late 19th and 20th century and produce the clearest possible images.  He was able to use his digital cameras and IT skills to great effect. 

“Kings Cliffe in Northamptonshire was the home of the late 18th and early 19th century Catholic Riding Mission.  Michael was able to take photographs of the building formally occupied by the priests and in particular the attic where Mass had been said. This was quite a challenge due to the constricted space.  For decades he photographed church events such as festivals, bishops visits, ordinations, Parish dinners and the two yearly ‘One Mass’ in Peterborough Cathedral. 

You can watch the funeral livestream at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQWQD3Mk1hw