What Reverend Richard Coles can teach us about staying positive in the face of grief and adversity

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Natalie Cornish
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Reverend Richard Coles announced the death of his partner, Reverend David Coles, earlier this week. Since then he has received homophobic letters, but – he says – the kindness of the majority of strangers is helping him come to terms with his loss.

Reverend Richard Coles announced the death of his partner, Reverend David Coles, earlier this week. Since then he says he has received homophobic hate mail claiming that his partner is “in hell” and been forced to expose a scam fundraising page, set up by someone wrongfully claiming to be raising money for funeral costs, while grieving.

The vicar, 2017 Strictly contestant and former member of 80s band The Communards, tweeted that he had received “99.99999% loveliness from people and then a small but lively correspondence from Christians who wish me to know that D is in hell and I will follow”.

He explained that he has been on the receiving end of “horrible letters” since losing his partner of 12 years on Monday (16 December). One of which was “courageously unsigned” and contained the hateful words “Dear Mr Coles, I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am to hear of the death of your partner”.

His followers were quick to condemn the homophobic abuse and send their condolences, including a local police officer who encouraged Reverend Coles to report the “hateful correspondence”. 

Last night he revealed he had done just that, thanking Northamptonshire Police for being “sympathetic and professional” and lighting a candle in memory of his partner, who was also a Church of England vicar, at their carol service last night.

In light of his horrible experiences, Rev Coles says he is focusing on the good in the world while he comes to terms with his loss. 

He tweeted: “The horrible letters; they don’t touch me. I am right now an expert in pain, and these are paper darts among the incoming, and just leave me mildly curious about the state of mind of the writer”. 

This morning, he added that he’d received a call from a stranger to “express support” and say “All Swindon is behind you!”

The vicar of Finedon in Northamptonshire has also been honest about how difficult grief can be to navigate, using his signature humour to sum up the rollercoaster of thoughts and feelings he has experienced in the last few days.

Reverend Richard Coles met his late partner in 2007. They lived together in celibacy at the vicarage in Finedon until David passed away this week.

Images: Getty, Twitter.

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