Big team riding in memory of popular parish priest

Cyclists John Potts, Colin Oakley and Steve Blakelock at Easington.
 Picture by Jane Coltman
Cyclists John Potts, Colin Oakley and Steve Blakelock at Easington. Picture by Jane Coltman
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A group of people will use pedal power to mark the first anniversary of Father Lawrence Jones’ death by raising funds for a good cause.

He made a big impact during his time as priest at St Robert’s RC Church in Morpeth. He moved to the town in September 2009.

Among other projects and activities, he successfully led a fund-raising project to make the church bells sound again and he also led a week-long pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Fr Lawrence, who was born in Easington and affectionately known by his family and friends as Father Ted, died of pancreatic cancer on April 27 last year.

On Saturday, April 30, a team of 17 people will cycle from the County Durham town to Morpeth – a distance of just under 48 miles.

The money raised from the bike ride will go to Cancer Research UK.

Fr Lawrence’s two sisters, Julie Fewster and Beverley Jones, and Julie’s fiancée Stephen Blakelock moved to Morpeth following his diagnosis and cared for him for his last few months.

Mr Blakelock, who is part of the cycle team, said: “He was a larger-than-life character and was kind, funny and very approachable. He would do anything for his parishioners.

“We felt that doing a bike ride would be an appropriate activity to raise funds and we chose Cancer Research UK as donations were made to this charity in lieu of flowers at his funeral.

“We decided to do it on a weekend day as close to the anniversary of his death as possible and I’m delighted that so many people have agreed to participate. We’re aiming to get into Morpeth some time between 2pm and 3pm.”

Beverley, Julie and other family members will be in the town throughout the day to ask for donations and raise awareness. More than £1,000 has already been raised, with hundreds more pledged.

For more information and to make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/team-father-ted