Sally Barton, grandmother of three and a former Church Mission Society mission partner has become the oldest ever international cricketer at 66.

A wicketkeeper, Sally made her international debut in Gibraltar Women’s second T20 international against Estonia, at the age of 66 and 334 days.

Originally from London, Sally credits her parents – from Yorkshire and Lancashire – and her twin brother for fostering an early interest in cricket. After playing for Essex at junior level she kept wicket for Nottingham University men’s 3rd XI during her student days.

In 2020 Sally moved to Gibraltar when her husband Ian Tarrant, an Anglican priest, was appointed Dean of Gibraltar and she began playing regularly in the men’s domestic league on ‘The Rock’.

Sally and Ian Tarrant were mission partners with CMS serving in Aru, Northern DRC for 10 years. A fellow CMS mission partner fondly recalls her cycling round local health centres on bumpy local roads while seven months pregnant and remarked, “Seriously tough cookie.” They have many happy memories of the church in the area and the strong community the church built.

Despite decades of conflict in the country, CMS’s work in DRC continues. Earlier this month a roundtable discussion brought together a number of people involved in making Christian disciples in contexts affected by conflict. They considered the pivotal role played by women and youth in implementing holistic community transformation programmes and explored ways of enhancing the impact of these programmes.

Attendees heard from a number of women in leadership and young people who were able to share their stories of the impact women and young people could have on the peace and reconciliation process, as they shared God’s love helping to rebuild communities.