20 November 2019, The Tablet

David Sheppard's Liverpool echoes


David Sheppard's Liverpool echoes

David Sheppard with his wife Grace and daughter Jenny in June 1975
Shutterstock/ANL, Barry Greenwood

 

As Bishop of Liverpool in the 1980s ex-England cricket captain David Sheppard helped to bring healing to a divided city. His daughter considers the legacy of a loving father

All my life, people have said to me, “Oh you must be so proud of your father”, as they did also to my mother, “Oh you must be so proud of David.” There was always the perception of the “great man” looming large in our lives. But although I understand why people say this, it doesn’t feel quite right, because, for my father, it was never about him. God was always the primary agent at work.

So if there is one thing that I know he would want to come from the publication of the fine biography of him by Andrew Bradstock that is published this week, Batting for the Poor, it would be that it prompt more people to realise they too have a calling.

My father’s courage was evident from an early age. He was eight, and already at boarding school, when he was told of his father’s death. A determination grew that was to prove vital in his twenties, when he found himself facing Australian fast bowlers, and, later still, in his dealings with Margaret Thatcher.

The passion for cricket that had taken root as a little boy was cultivated at school and by hours of solitary practice against the coalshed door at home. At Cambridge as a history undergraduate he spent more time at the crease than in the library. After scoring heavily when the university played the West Indian touring team in 1950, he was selected to play for England against them that summer.

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