EUROPE is so much in mind, one way or another.

Maybe we are planning holidays. Maybe it is European Cup football that we have in mind. Then June 6 is the anniversary of D-Day, the 72nd this year.

But then we can’t go far without being reminded of that referendum. We hear so many sound bites designed to sway our voting intentions, so many statistics probably manipulated to support one particular side.

One anniversary not so well-known is that of Boniface, on June 5. Known at first as Winfrith, he was born in Devon, and trained as a monk in Hampshire, but spent most of his life in Europe, in particular what we now know as Germany.

Here, he rose to be an archbishop. During this time, the church grew considerably. However, Boniface annoyed pagan authorities by cutting down an oak tree dedicated to Thor. Consequently he was martyred in the year 754.

Boniface dedicated much of his life to serving in Europe. Rather than thinking about what benefit could be got from Europe, he was more concerned about what could be done for Europe. This is a stance we don’t hear in the current debate.

How can we give or do more to help relations with Europe?

We hear calls to help with migrants. But many would respond by putting up fences or imposing tariffs. Some groups of people in this country have genuine concerns about Europe, such as fishermen, or people in more remote communities.

I hope that whoever wins the referendum governments in Westminster and Brussels will listen and act sympathetically. We must not shut the door on Europe or the rest of the world.

The Rev Roger Smith

Retired vicar, Cross Hills