MEMBERS of the public are invited to attend a memorial service dedicated to Lord Foster, the former Bishop Auckland MP who died at the beginning of the year.

The service will be held at St Andrew’s Church, Bishop Auckland, on May 17.

Speakers will include Jonathan Ruffer, the financier and philanthropist behind the Auckland Castle Project; Sir John Hall, the former owner of Newcastle United FC and property developer; Sue Snowdon, the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham; Simon Henig, the leader of Durham County Council, and Chris Lloyd, of The Northern Echo.

Cllr Rob Yorke, who is one of the organisers of the service, said: “Derek was a highly regarded and well-respected MP from 1979 to 2005 and achieved so much both in the Commons and later in the Lords.

“He was a gentle gentleman, and will always be remembered for his dedication and commitment to our local communities in south west Durham.

“Everyone is warmly invited to what will be a service of thanksgiving and celebration for his life.”

Lord Foster died on January 5 at the age of 81.

People are asked to register their attendance at the service by emailing