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Ipswich priest Sam is honoured on his 80th birthday

Fr Francis (Sam) Leeder was presented with a letter from Bishop Alan and more than £1,000 to celebrate his 80th birthday after parishioners at St Pancras in Ipswich held a secret collection for him.

He said: “I tried to keep it quiet but Theresa Cleary – who seems to know everyone’s birthmark, never mind birthday, didn’t forget it. I’m grateful to the parishioners who’ve been so kind to me and it was kind of the bishop.”

Fr Leeder first came to St Pancras as a curate in 1963 before serving in Norwich and Woodbridge, returning to Ipswich in 1981. One parishioner said he is still the youngest and fittest priest in the town.