Bishop Crispian is given a (road) sign

PROUD Bishop Crispian Hollis on the street that bears his name.    Picture: Sarah Standing (110895-6311)
PROUD Bishop Crispian Hollis on the street that bears his name. Picture: Sarah Standing (110895-6311)
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HE said he would never have dreamed that a road in Portsmouth would be named after him.

But it was a dream come true when the Rt Rev Crispian Hollis, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth, laid his eyes on the shiny road sign outside St John’s Cathedral.

A stretch of Edinburgh Road will now be known as Bishop Crispian Way.

The only two properties on the stretch are the cathedral and the Bishop’s residency.

The new road name was officially unveiled yesterday to gasps and cheers from the large congregation, who had gathered for the Sunday Mass.

The unveiling came as a complete surprise to the Bishop, who is retiring this year after more than 22 years in the job.

Bishop Crispian joked that he was not going to bless the street name.

He said: ‘How much I have loved being in the city of Portsmouth.

‘I have grown to know and love it a great deal over the years.

‘I would never have dreamed my presence in this city and the dioceses would be commemorated in this way.

‘It is an honour for me, but an honour for the diocese as well.’

He added: ‘It comes as a great surprise to me because, as far as I know, no such accolade has been conferred on any of my distinguished predecessors.

‘I am still at a little bit of a loss to know what I have done to deserve this honour.’

Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the leader of Portsmouth City Council, said the street name was to honour the contribution Bishop Crispian had made to the city.

He said: ‘It’s the least we can do.’

Bishop Crispian was installed as the seventh Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth in 1989 and plans to retire following his 75th birthday later this year.

Members of his congregation were delighted with the new road name.

Mary Harkin, from North End, said: ‘Everyone will always remember him. He’s been a wonderful bishop all these years.

‘He will never be forgotten by the diocese and all the children of it.’

Jacqui Davis, from Old Portsmouth, said: ‘He’s brought the city together. It’s multi-cultural and he has brought the diverse groups together.

‘It rejuvenates this bit of the road.’