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Tributes to Jesus banner man Cedric

Ced Cocker

Ced Cocker

For over 60 years he was a familiar sight in Sheffield city centre, and instantly recognisable to football fans flocking to Bramall Lane and Hillsborough.

Cedric Cocker was ‘the banner man’, holding aloft his unchanging message of sin and salvation - and who has now passed on, aged 92.

Ced was still standing in Fargate with his placard only weeks before his sudden death at home in Studfield Hill, Wadsley.

In recent months he was no longer able to stand for hours at a time out in wind, rain or shine, bearing witness to his faith, but his health was still relatively good.

When the end came it was after a happy day spent with one of his adopted daughters Mary, popping into town before a drive out to his favourite place, Bradfield.

“When they got back Cedric said he was feeling a pain in the base of his back,” said younger brother Brian, aged 86. “Soon after that he passed away - it was very quick.”

Cedric was born in Crookes and worked for much of his life manufacturing scissors for the company founded by his father, WO Cocker and Sons Sheffield Ltd.

He served in the RAF during the war and settled back on civvy street.

But in June 1949, at the age of 28, came the event which defined his life.

“He’d taken mum to the rag and tag market off Dixon Lane and was sitting on the wheel rim of a car listening to an open air Methodists’ meeting. He was converted and it turned his life around,” Brian said.

“Before that he loved dancing, big bands, Latin American style music, but he changed completely.”

Cedric began carrying his banner soon afterwards, also carrying the message to lodging houses and flats close to the city centre.

His commitment to the open air preaching which had transformed his own life led Cedric to summer holidays for many years in Great Yarmouth and Chapel St Leonards, where he helped with services on the beach.

And it wasn’t just at United and Wednesday where he would become a familiar face - Cedric stood outside many Wembley FA Cup finals as well.

He was a regular down the decades at churches in Sheffield and Rotherham, but in later years he attended Owlerton Evangelical Church.

In later years he also went on several relief missions to Romania.

Cedric was a family man too, with his late wife Doreen, and four daughters, two of whom were adopted.

Brian added: “He was always very independent right to the end, and was annoyed when he wasn’t able to drive anymore.

“He definitely enjoyed a life well lived.”

 

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