Cyprian Blamires reflects on his recent appeal:

Memories were stirred for me during my appeal on behalf of the Society on 17/18 February.  I was in County Durham, speaking in three small towns in the old coalfield area – Coxhoe, Trimdon, Sedgefield.  When I last spoke in Sedgefield, Tony Blair was still the MP and the parish priest was a great friend of his, the late Fr John Caden (d.2013).  Fr Caden baptised all of the Blair children and played tennis with their father.  He was one of the few persons privileged to be present when Mr Blair was received into the Church.  Astonishingly, it appears that he was parish priest of Sedgefield for 55 years.  I had the privilege of staying in the presbytery and enjoying Fr Caden’s hospitality over the weekend, and he regaled me with many wonderful stories – not least of his occasional appearances in goal for Darlington FC as a young priest.  It is likely that he is the only parish priest ever to have played for a football league team while in office – though there are ex-footballers who have been ordained to the priesthood.  Fortunately Fr Caden didn’t feel it necessary to trouble his Bishop with information about this part of his life, since an Episcopal embargo could well have been pronounced!   Later he published a memoir of his life which began with an account of a journey by boat across the Atlantic in the early 1950s which led to him becoming an honorary chaplain for life to an American girls school which was also represented on the boat.