AN INQUIRY into the handling of allegations of child abuse by a former senior clergyman is appealing for help to gather information.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu launched the independent inquiry into issues surrounding reports that the late Dean of Manchester, Robert Waddington, groomed and abused a chorister in Manchester in the 1980s.

Chaired by Judge Sally Cahill QC, it is gathering evidence about what complaints were made about alleged abuse by Mr Waddington, what the church’s response was, whether child protection policies were implemented and other issues.

Anyone who may have relevant information is urged to get in touch.

Dr Sentamu announced the inquiry after his predecessor, Lord Hope of Thornes, denied suggestions he covered up allegations against Mr Waddington, who retired to York in 1993 and died in 2007.

A national newspaper claimed Lord Hope, who was Archbishop of York between 1995 and 2005, was twice informed about allegations against Mr Waddington, who is also said to have abused a schoolboy in Australia.

Lord Hope strongly denies allegations of a cover-up. Following the abuse accusations, he revoked Dean Waddington’s right to conduct church services and ordered internal investigations. But Lord Hope said the clergyman was in “such a fragile and frail state” with his deteriorating health that it was not reported to the authorities.

Mr Waddington was ordained Deacon in 1953, and began his career as curate at St John’s in Bethnal Green from 1953 to 1956. Afterwards he was Chaplain at Slade School in Warwick, Queensland, Australia from 1956 to 1959.

After 18 months as curate of St Luke’s Chesterton, in the Ely Diocese, he returned to Australia to become headmaster of St. Barnabas School, Ravenshoe, where he remained until 1971.

On returning to England he became a Canon Residentiary at Carlisle Cathedral and Bishop’s Adviser for Education 1972 to 1977, then General Secretary of the Church of England’s General Synod Board of Education and General Secretary of the National Society from 1977 to 1984 until becoming Dean of Manchester Cathedral in 1984.

The Archbishop is expected to make the findings of the inquiry public when the report is made.

Anyone with information should contact the Clerk to the Inquiry, Nicola Harding, at Cathedral Chambers, 4 Kirkgate, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 1PA.