Vatican honour for MP

Lancaster and Fleetwood MP, Eric Ollerenshaw, meets His Holiness the Pope Benedict XVI during a trip to the Vatican in Rome.
Lancaster and Fleetwood MP, Eric Ollerenshaw, meets His Holiness the Pope Benedict XVI during a trip to the Vatican in Rome.

FLEETWOOD MP Eric Ollerenshaw met The Pope in a state visit to the Vatican.

Mr Ollerenshaw joined Baroness Sayeeda Warsi on the ministerial delegation, which was a reciprocal visit after Pope Benedict XVI visited the UK in September 2010.

The visit also commemorated the decision taken 30 years ago to restore full diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The relationship between the UK and the Holy See is actually the UK’s oldest diplomatic relationship, first established in 1479.

The delegation met with Holy See officials last Wednesday to discuss issues including human rights and international development.

Later they held an audience with Pope Benedict — an honour not normally accorded those who are not heads of state or government.

Mr Ollerenshaw commented: “When I was elected as an MP back in May 2010, little did I know that it would lead to this.

“As a history teacher for 27 years I was familiar with teaching the history between our country and the Vatican, however seeing and being involved with it at first hand was inspiring.

“It was a humbling experience and I sent him the best wishes from people in Fleetwood.”