A VIGIL protesting the treatment of the legacy of the late Bishop George Bell will be held at Chichester Cathedral on Sunday.

In October last year the Church of England issued a public apology and paid a settlement to a woman who said she had been abused by the wartime Bishop of Chichester while she was a child in the 1940s and 1950s.

But the vigil’s organisers have said they want to encourage people to examine the evidence against Bishop Bell for themselves, including a detailed review into the Church’s methodology in the case published last month by a group of prominent scholars, academics and peers called the George Bell Group.

Organiser Richard Symonds said he expected between three and ten people to attend the vigil, which will be held at 12.30pm on Sunday, April 3 outside the Cathedral, where Bell’s ashes lie.

Mr Symonds told The Argus: “I am more concerned with the process. It would appear to be seriously flawed and might prove to be a catastrophic error of judgement. I think the Church's powers-that-be were panicked into a rushed judgement.

Flyers will be handed out which feature a picture of George Bell with words from a cathedral monument - “A true pastor, poet and patron of the arts, champion of the oppressed and tireless worker for Christian unity" - along with quotes from the George Bell Group.

My Symonds said the purpose of the vigil was to raise public awareness and to encourage people to come to their own conclusions, and ultimately to reinstate George Bell’s name on buildings and institutions which have removed it since the Church’s announcement in October of last year.

The reliability of the victim's testimony and the soundness of the Church process has been questioned and challenged by defenders of George Bell, who was highly regarded as a man of peace and patron of the arts, who opposed the area bombing of Germany and counted Gandhi as a friend.

In a 5,000 word review published online on March 20, the George Bell Group questioned why the Bishop’s personal diaries had not been cross-referenced, and why his biographer and then-chaplain had not been interviewed by the panel which investigated the abuse claim.

Last week the Archbishop of Canterbury said in an interview: “"On the balance of probability, at this distance, it seemed clear to us after very thorough investigation that that was correct and so we paid compensation and gave a profound and deeply felt apology."

Organisers could not confirm whether any of members of the George Bell Group are due to attend the vigil.