Reverend Richard Coles (pictured) announced on Tuesday that his civil partner, Rev David Coles, died after a long illness
Reverend Richard Coles has called in the police after receiving hate mail about his late civil partner being ‘in hell’ for being gay.
The star vicar, who appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2017, has also handed detectives letters sent to his home celebrating the death of his civil partner, who passed away after a long illness this week.
Rev Coles, 57, who was in the 1980s band The Communards with singer Jimmy Somerville before being ordained, met David, also a priest, while preaching.
They entered into a civil partnership after the Church of England allowed it in 2005 – but they were celibate – and lived together with their dogs Daisy, Pongo, Audrey and Horatio in the vicarage of St Mary’s in Finedon, Northamptonshire, where the poisonous letters were sent.
He tweeted last night: ‘Police called this evening, sympathetic and professional, and my hateful correspondence is now evidence. Thank you @NorthantsPolice’.
He added: ‘Also @NorthantsPolice lit a candle in memory of @RevDavidColes at their carol service tonight. There appears to be evidence of something in my eye’.
Coles announced on Tuesday that his civil partner, Rev David Coles, who was also a priest, died after a long illness.
He tweeted last night: ‘Police called this evening, sympathetic and professional, and my hateful correspondence is now evidence. Thank you @NorthantsPolice’
Richard tweeted out that there had been ‘small lively correspondence from Christians’
Reverend Richard Coles posted an example of the sort of issues he was having to deal with
Richard (right) said most people had been kind following the news that his partner David (left) had died
Two days later, Coles wrote that there had been ‘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.’
‘It’s like the Khmer Rouge suddenly popping up in a stream of condolence.’
He said: ‘A letter, courageously unsigned, begins: ‘Dear Mr Coles, I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am to hear of the death of your partner…’.’
In a follow-up tweet he added: ‘It continues ‘I have been praying for your pain for a long time now…’.’
A short while later Coles tweeted that the ‘horrible letters: they don’t touch me’.
The couple said they had struggled to be gay in the Church of England, describing it as ‘colluding with a homophobic institution’ but said their faith meant it was worth the sacrifice
‘I am right now an expert in pain, the real kind, and these are paper darts among the incoming, and just leave me mildly curious about the state of mind of the writer.’
Along with the tweet he posted a picture of a pot of green ink, a reference to the journalistic term ‘green ink brigade’ about hate mail largely being sent into news organisations written in the coloured pen.
Dianne Buswell, Coles’ former Strictly partner, tweeted: ‘Disgusting thinking of you x.’
Comedian Tim Minchin replied: ‘So pathetic I can’t even be bothered searching for the yawn emoji. xx.’
It comes after Richard, who also presents a show on BBC Radio 4, said scammers had set up a fake fundraising page for his late partner’s funeral, using his mother’s name Irene Oldham, in order to lure people in to parting with their cash.
Reverend David Coles with Mary Berry recently
On Tuesday morning he revealed the news to his followers in a tweet which read: ‘I’m very sorry to say that Rev David Coles has died. He had been ill for a while. Thanks to the brilliant teams who looked after him at Kettering General Hospital. Funeral details to follow’.
He then quoted Isaiah 60:20: ‘The Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended’, but did not reveal the cause of David’s death.
David would tweet about his partner from time to time, revealing a loving, close relationship between the pair.
Last month he wrote: ‘And he always hogs the remote come rain or shire and it always has to have guns and violence. Don’t think I’m not on to you Coles!’
In another tweet he wrote: ‘Today’s mantra: ‘Do small things with great love’. Mother Teresa.’
David posted his last tweet on December 6, which was accompanied by a messy work top and read: ‘I love a lived in kitchen.’
Choirmaster Bryan Chapman said: ‘He was a very talented chap. Very creative. It is a sad loss.’
All parishioners are conscious of the impact David’s death will have on the Rev Coles.
Parish clerk Gill Foster said: ‘He will be missed. He was very well known and well liked. Everybody will be seriously grieving. And people will be grieving for Richard as well.’
Reverend Richard Coles revealed that his partner David had died in a tweet posted earlier this week
Reverend Coles appeared on Strictly in 2017 and lived a happy life with his partner David, who worked in a neighbouring parish
Richard has been inundated with thousands of messages of condolences from friends and well-wishers
The vicar’s work at St Mary the Virgin in Finedon, Northamptonshire, is a million miles from his old life as a pop star
In 2005, Richard was ordained into the Anglican priesthood, and lived a celibate life with David Oldham, a curate in a neighbouring parish.
They met when Oldham went to hear Coles preach in Norwich and fell in love.
Church of England rules dictating the celibacy of ministers in civil partnership coincided with their own sex life ‘fading away’. They share a bed and would kiss but nothing more, Rev Coles said in his 2014 autobiography.
Coles says there is ‘nothing creditable in the Church of England’s position on gay relationships . . . the Church should repent of its hostility to homosexual people and beg forgiveness for its treatment of the gay community’.
He told the Mail in 2017, around the time he was in Strictly, that he and David had hopes to move from their Northamptonshire home when they get older.
He said: ‘I’d like to retire and live in Scotland near the sea, with David and the dogs, never answer another email, and sort of pootle around. That’s what I’d like to do. I want to look at the sea.’