Friends remember the "People's priest"

PUBLISHED: 08:59 12 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:10 26 October 2009

Father Michael Groarke

Father Michael Groarke

A CLERGYMAN who graced his community for over a decade and was described as the people s priest has died. Father Michael Groarke was father of Our Lady s Queen of Apostles Roman Catholic Church, on Woodhall Lane, WGC, between 1970 and 1984. He died on T

A CLERGYMAN who graced his community for over a decade and was described as the "people's priest" has died.

Father Michael Groarke was father of Our Lady's Queen of Apostles Roman Catholic Church, on Woodhall Lane, WGC, between 1970 and 1984.

He died on Thursday after a long illness at the age of 83.

Close friend Sean Cox, met Father Groarke when he moved to the church and witnessed all the hard work he had put in to supporting his local community.

He said: "Father Michael was always heavily involved around the church.

"He helped build the family centre next to the church from scratch and it became a very popular centre for the local community, until the recent father closed it down.

"At some points we had over 800 members, and they were not just Catholic members.

"He was chaplain of the QE2 Hospital during his time at the church and he also used to get involved with the local schools like Our Lady's Primary School, and the old Holy Trinity school."

Altogether Father Michael worked as a priest for 59 years. Originally from Rochdale, he moved to WGC via Tottenham, where he adopted a big passion for their local football team.

Sean added: "He moved to Tottenham in the mid-1930s and became an ardent Spurs fan up until the day he died.

"He used to go down to watch their matches when he could and would always look out for their results.

"In his younger years he was a keen sportsmen and he also enjoyed cricket.

"He helped the Mixed Group at the church an awful lot as well, putting on a dinner every Christmas for the elderly in the family centre.

"He was a great priest and a great friend, not just to me but to many other people in the local area."

A funeral mass will be held at Our Lady’s church but no date has yet been confirmed.

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