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Husband ‘deeply touched’ by messages of support following death of Rev Anna Matthews, 44, in Cambridge

The husband of a Cambridge vicar who died suddenly has said he is “deeply touched” by the support of her congregation and described her as “much loved”.

Reverend Anna Matthews, 44, of St Bene’t’s Church died at home on Wednesday, March 8.

A picture of Reverend Anna Matthews, 44, of St Bene’t’s Church at the service. Picture: Keith Heppell
A picture of Reverend Anna Matthews, 44, of St Bene’t’s Church at the service. Picture: Keith Heppell

A statement on the church’s website said that Mrs Matthews took her own life.

An inquest was opened today (March 30) at Peterborough Town Hall, which heard that Mrs Matthews was found by a friend.

The church community was left shocked by the news, with tributes pouring in from people Anna had known around the world. A service at the church on Thursday, March 9 was packed with mourners.

Mrs Matthews’ husband, Stephen, shared this statement with the congregation: “I am deeply touched by all your words of condolence, prayers, and your respect for our privacy in this most painful time. Among the loss we share, your concern and love for me gives me strength each day. That so many of you came on Thursday, joining the celebration of the Eucharist, shows how much Anna is loved by the people of St Bene’t’s, and this reflects how dearly and deeply she loved you.”

St Bene't's Church. Picture: Keith Heppell
St Bene't's Church. Picture: Keith Heppell

A statement on the the website of St Bene’t’s, read: “Anna’s death was tragic and sudden, and we are now able to confirm that she took her own life. We are awaiting the findings of the coroner’s report to know more, and this will follow an investigation and inquest, which will take many weeks.”

Mrs Matthews had been with St Bene’t’s Church in Cambridge for 10 years. She studied theology at Robinson College, Cambridge, and was ordained in 2003. She also spent six years as canon precentor at St Albans Cathedral.

Reverend Dr Mark Oakley, dean of Chapel at St John’s College, paid tribute to her in the service.

He said: “We are all in shock. We are living with a chaos of emotion. This doesn’t feel real. We are looking for something that will help us comprehend what has happened and we can’t find it.”

He described Anna as “strong and wise and funny and formidable, prayerful, private, insightful and sharp, and clever, teasing and inspiring.”

However, he said those who knew her well recognised a “fragility” in her. “We loved her for it but she doubted it was loveable,” he said.

He added: “For all her strength and composure, her faith, her loyalty, Anna’s self-scrutiny could be quite tough on herself.”

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