More than 1,600 people have signed a petition calling for governors at a Catholic boys’ school in Croydon to be reinstated after they were sacked for backing a visit from a gay author.

Simon James Green was expected to visit John Fisher School in Purley last week.

He was going to talk about his novel, Noah Can’t Even, which features a gay character.

But the Archdiocese of Southwark pushed the school to cancel the event.

The author said while the school wanted the visited to happen, governors who supported his visit were sacked by the Archdiocese.

A petition to reinstate the governors was started by parents over the weekend, and at the time of writing had attracted 1,609 signatures.

It reads: “We are extremely concerned, worried and disappointed at the events which have occurred following the school’s decision to continue with a visit from an author as part of world book week.

"We are urgently requesting your support to insist the Diocese fully reinstate the Foundation governors who were removed by the Diocese.”

The petition has been backed by parents with one supporter writing: “I have had three son’s attend [John Fisher School] and am dismayed and distressed to see the upheaval and genuine hurt the diocese knee jerk reaction has has caused in our school community and in multiple parishes.

"The diocese needs to be aware that the vast majority of parents, pupils and staff do not support their unilateral decision and as a result have no confidence in the new governing bodies.”

In another comment, a parent said they fully support the school’s senior leadership to hold the event before it was cancelled.

They said: “I was appalled at the way this decision was overturned, and the implications this has had on the school, management, teachers, governors, and most importantly pupils.”

On Saturday, Elliot Colburn, the MP for Carshalton and Wallington, weighed in on the matter. He tweeted: “I am horrified that something like this has happened in my constituency. John Fisher is an excellent local school with whom I enjoy a great working relationship.

“The actions of the Archdiocese are unacceptable. Would they ban me from visiting as an openly gay MP? I will be taking this up with the Archdiocese of Southwark and the Department for Education.”

In a statement, the Archdiocese said it is “continuing to work with John Fisher School moving forward”.

A spokesperson said: “Any impression that the John Fisher school is anything other than an inclusive centre of learning that allows young people to flourish is deeply regrettable. 

“The Archdiocese acted to ensure the material put in front of the children was age-appropriate.”