A ST Helens author has written the official biography of David Sheppard, the England cricket captain who went on to be a Church of England minister and Bishop of Liverpool.

Andrew Bradstock's book was published this week, entitled Batting for the Poor.

Mr Bradstock has spent the last four years researching the book, which details Sheppard’s career as both a leading sportsman and high-profile bishop.

While at Cambridge in the 1950s, Sheppard set a string of batting records which have never been beaten.

Capped for England while still a student, he played 22 times for his country and was captain twice.

He went on two MCC tours to Australia and New Zealand.

Sheppard was later in the forefront of the campaign to end apartheid, taking the unpopular step of advocating a sporting boycott of South Africa.

He was a leading critic of MCC over its handling of the ‘D’Oliveira affair’ in 1968.

In Liverpool, Sheppard forged a path-breaking partnership with his Roman Catholic counterpart, Archbishop Derek Worlock.

During their 25 years together, he and the archbishop helped to break down divisions across the city and turn its fortunes around.

Sheppard was the driving force behind the 1985 report, Faith in the City, which played a major role in changing attitudes to the inner-city in both church and government.

Sheppard died in 2005 aged 75.

Batting for the Poor, which has a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, draws on Sheppard’s private papers and more than 300 interviews.

Born in Croydon, Mr Bradstock moved to the Isle of Wight in 2004 when he married his wife Helen, who grew up in Freshwater.

He has spent most of his life teaching in higher education, and from 2009 to 2013 held a professorship in the department of theology at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

He is an emeritus professor of the University of Winchester and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Andrew has dedicated the book to his late father-in-law, Canon Brian Fessey, the former headteacher of Swanmore Middle School who died in 2017, and his two grandchildren, Ella and Toby Afonso, who live in Newport and go to Cowes Primary School.

Mr Bradstock will be signing copies of the book at the Medina Publishing bookshop, High Street, Cowes, from 1pm to 3pm on Friday, November 29.

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