THE death of a long serving priest who became Tony Blair's tennis doubles partner has been announced today.

A notice on the website of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle confirmed the death of Father John Caden, known as Jack, of St John Fisher, Sedgefield, County Durham.

He died yesterday, and details of his funeral are expected to be announced early next week.

Fr Caden, who was 89, celebrated 60 years as a Roman Catholic priest in 2008.

He baptised all four of the Blairs' children during the former Prime Minister's time as Sedgefield MP and was among the select few present at Mr Blair's reception into the Catholic church.

Fr Caden was also a leading figure in health and education circles, serving for 25 years as chairman of governors at Carmel RC College in Darlington.