Ced’s banner headlines on 90th birthday

Ced Cocker
Ced Cocker

HE’S walked thousands of miles, visited just as many towns, and has worn his feet to the bone - all in the name of his banner.

And Ced Cocker, Fargate’s famous Christian messenger, certainly isn’t stopping now - even though the dedicated Christian turns 90 today.

From Scotch Corner in North Yorkshire to Sevenoaks in Kent, Ced had trekked across the country for decades with his Christian message.

“I’m not interested in holidays,” he said. “I’ve seen everything I need to see in the world and I’ve enjoyed carrying the banner.

“If I had my time again I wouldn’t change my way. I’ve been to so many towns in this country - I write them all down in a book and I mark on a map all the places I’ve been.”

Ced spends many of his weekdays on Fargate, but this weekend he’s going further afield.

“I’ve booked to go to Cardiff - God willing - tomorrow and on October 10 I’m travelling to Bristol to visit all the towns in that area.”

Ced, from Wisewood, near Hillsborough, is driven by his mission to spread the word about Jesus Christ.

“I’ve known the Lord for 64 years but I’d only known him for about 12 months when I first started carrying the banner,” he said.

Ced was converted to Christianity when he was 27.

“I used to take my mother shopping and we parked in town this particular Saturday and a lady came and asked me to move the car back because they were having a meeting.

“It was a beautiful afternoon and I listened to their meeting and joined them the following Saturday.”

But Ced admits he had five ‘Godless’ years prior to his revelation.

He started working at his father’s scissor-making firm at the age of 12, becoming full time at 14, and later volunteered for the RAF. He was even a mail guard - with quite a reputation for chatting up the girls.

“I did drink before but I wasn’t one for hitting the bottle,” he said.

“Now I spread the gospel message that Christ was sent into the world to save sinners. God brought me out of the darkness.”

Ced has travelled a whopping 23,000 miles in the name of Christ and has visited most countries in Europe as part of his mission, including Romania, which he visited six times.

He’s been slapped in the face by women, laughed at by cynical onlookers and even grabbed around the neck.

And Ced’s rapidly-increasing mileage is in spite of having worn away the cartilage in his feet joints, having spondylitis in his neck and, sadly, being afflicted by skin cancer.

His wife, Doreen, died 30 years ago, and until then the couple would travel together as a banner-carrying duo.

Ced’s content spending his life spreading the word.

“The Lord gives me strength to do this,” he says.

“I wouldn’t change places with anyone because the greatest pleasure is to know the peace of God and it is good to know I will go to heaven.”

And, when he’s not travelling with his banner, Ced’s at home, leading his very modest existence.

“My interests are very few,” he said. “I don’t have a television. I switch the radio on for the five o’clock news and the only thing I read is the Scriptures.

“Well - that and the newspaper.”