I think on pre-2004 147's, there is either no light in the cluster for Cruise Control, or there is a light, and it stays on permanently once the system is turned "ON" (I can't remember, it's been nearly 5 years since I had the '02 car). When you engage cruise, the multi-function display shows the "clock-face" symbol.
You've got an '01, so if you can see a lamp on the cluster, and it's not lit, it looks like the system isn't being turned on. If you can't see any lamp on the cluster, then it could be that the system is being cancelled (by the clutch or break switches). One or other of the switches could be gone. How are you with a voltmeter? ... or take it to a friendly repair shop and get them to have a look at it.
Cruise in 147's is not a mechanical system, it's part of the engine managment and throttle system, so if it's broken it'll be something relatively simple, and not that expensive to fix.
Incidentally, on post-facelift cars (2004-) it's different: there is a light in the speedo dial, but it only comes on if the system is maintaining a set speed (e.g, "ON", and a speed has been set with "+/-"). The light does not light up if you've only turned the system "ON".