Sheffield funeral of Fargate banner man

Ced Cocker
Ced Cocker
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Ced Cocker, the religious banner man of Fargate, bore witness to the end – including at his own funeral.

Instead of with flowers his coffin was carried into Hillsborough Baptist Church with the slogan ‘Prepare To Meet Thy God’ on one side – and ‘The Wages of Sin is Death’ on the other.

The hearse arrives for the funeral of Ced Cocker.

The hearse arrives for the funeral of Ced Cocker.

Outside church, packed with 300 people, a man stood with one of the banners Ced had carried for 65 years. Inside, other banners were placed against the pulpit.

And with each order of service was one of the religious tracts he gave out on his trips around the country, asking, ‘Where will you spend Eternity?’

Ced, aged 92, died last month, and had chosen the hymns and instructed his nephew David Astill there should be ‘no fancy speeches and to preach the gospel’.

Brother Brian told how a young man who ‘loved dancing and dressed like a spiv’ gave it all up when he was converted in 1949 and preached to cinema and dance hall queues.

He took his banners all over Britain and was once arrested for carrying one on Blackpool promenade.

The son of a scissor manufacturer, he printed Bible texts on the blades, some exported to Borneo. Ced is buried at Loxley Cemetery.