— and I'll give you land for church' APRIEST who obtained the land on which his church was built through organising a petition against the proposed abolition of the Grand National. died last week.
Ile was Fr. Hugh O'Connor, parish priest of St. Cecilia's. Sunderland, who, whenever he approached the owner of the land on which he wanted to build his church was met with a blank refusal. The landowner, however, was a great lover of horses and horse-riding and when the proposal was made to abolish the Grand National, asked Fr. O'Connor if he could obtain signatures to a protest — and if he could he would get the land he wanted.
Needless to add almost every adult parishioner signed a petition which they knew would help them to obtain the land required.
And the church today stands on a site where Fr, O'Connor had always wanted it to be.
Born in Ireland. Fr. O'Connor was ordained in 1914. and was appointed to St. Bede's, Jarrow. He subsequently served at St. Joseph's, Brooms; St. Augustine's, Darlington, and in 1929 became parish priest of Felton. Northumberland.
He moved to St. Joseph's, High. field, in 1938 and six years later was appointed to St. Cecilia's.