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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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Football-mad vicar to tackle retirement

A Workington vicar with a passion for football will blow the full-time whistle on his ministry after 27 years.

NO EXTRA TIME NEEDED: Football-crazy Reverend John Cook is retiring after a 27-year ministry at St John’s Church, Workington

The Rev John Cook, vicar of St John’s Church, announced his retirement on Sunday and will step down in March.

He will leave the vicarage in Thorncroft Gardens to live in Seaton with his wife of 39 years Janet, a former pharmacist.

Mr Cook said: “I’m 66 and have reached retirement age. Having spent 27 years here, it means that I am now marrying people I have baptised.

“It is one of the biggest privileges that you share in the most profound moments of people’s lives.”

There is a less serious side to Mr Cook who jokes that he is one of just two Crystal Palace football fans in Workington.

For the past three seasons he has been secretary and treasurer of JJ’s, a Workington district Sunday League division two football team.

The lads, many from Salterbeck, have been known to go to the vicarage to play croquet on its lawn.

Mr Cook also referees friendly matches and is chaplain to Workington Reds Football Club. He plans to continue in both of those roles.

He has two sons Nicholas, 29, and Andrew, 33.

Originally from Kent, Mr Cook has been ordained for nearly 40 years and had ministries in Weymouth and in Suffolk. He spotted an advert in the Church Times for a parish priest in Workington.

Dr Richard Pratt, archdeacon of West Cumbria, said Mr Cook was a much loved and well respected priest.

He said there would be a 12-month gap until a new priest was found but added that church life would continue at St John’s.

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