Paul Fletcher Memorial Fund
The Department of Religious Studies - and the University as a whole - suffered a grievous loss over the summer of 2008 with the sudden death of Dr Paul Fletcher at the age of 43. One of the department's most popular lecturers, and one of the university's most well known and well liked members, Paul died after a severe heart attack while attending a conference in Sydney, Australia in July. He leaves his partner, Dr Deborah Sutton, of the History Department and their baby daughter, May.
Paul was born in 1965 in Birkenhead, Liverpool, into a Roman Catholic family, and both Liverpool and the Catholic church left indelible imprints on his character. At the age of 16, he became a monk, serving with the Irish Christian Brothers, and his time there saw him deeply immersed in social work, not only in deprived areas of Liverpool, but also in Liberia, West Africa.
Seven years later, however, he became a mature student at the University of Durham, where he read Theology, and it was at this point that his powerful intellectual gifts became evident and flourished. He was encouraged by his teachers to study further and successfully completed both his MA and PhD degrees.
In 1997, Paul was appointed Lecturer in Religious Studies at Lancaster, which turned out to be an inspired appointment. His undoubted skills as a teacher were evident from the outset. He communicated with students both as equals engaged in a common endeavour of learning, and also as individuals, challenging the most able and encouraging the less confident. Countless students paid tribute to his inspirational teaching qualities. At the same time, like all good teachers, he refused to 'dumb down', and expected students to engage with their topics at the highest level, eschewing all misleading simplifications.
As a colleague and departmental administrator, his contribution was enormous. Always cheerfully co-operative, he guided the department through all sorts of administrative minefields, not least during his time as Director of Undergraduate Studies and, more recently, overseeing the department's QAA inspection. But, as with all true scholars, his real love was his research. Fiercely intelligent and voraciously well read, his published work ranged across continental philosophy, Christian thought, and political theology.
But it is as a warm and multi-faceted human being that he will be most fondly remembered. He played football for the University staff team at Lancaster, where, it was said, the fiercer side of his character became evident. He was also an accomplished cook, and his enjoyment of an evening shared with friends over good home-cooked food and wine, was rivalled only by an evening in a local pub over real ale or in a cinema where he could indulge his love of film. An inveterate traveller, he was particularly stimulated by his recent trips to India, where he often accompanied his partner, Deborah, on research trips.
The Paul Fletcher Memorial Fund will be used to provide annual prizes for students. Initially, it will fund the Paul Fletcher Prize for the best dissertation.
To make a donation in honour of Paul's memory, please go to the link below.
If you would prefer to make a donation via cheque, please print out the donation form which is available at: Paul Fletcher Memorial Fund and send it along with your cheque to:
Alumni & Development Office
LANCASTER LA1 4YW