A vicar has drowned after he attempted a sailing pilgrimage from Dorset to Cornwall. The body of Reverend Bob Thorn, was washed up near his wrecked boat close to Seatown on Monday, reports the Daily Telegraph.
The 59 year old clergyman is thought to have been rowing back from Cornwall to Dorset when he ran into difficulty. He was found just five miles from his parish of Burton Bradstock, Dorset.
Rev. Thorn had taken a three month sabbatical to complete the 300 mile round trip, which he attempted in a 10ft wooden boat. Police and coastguards swung into action after the boat was washed up empty and damaged.
After searching a 50 mile stretch of coastline from West Bay in Dorset to Teignmouth in Devon the emergency services discovered Thorn’s body. It was in a small cove a few hundred feet along the beach from his boat.
Rev. Thorn was a keen rower and regularly went on Celtic Christian-inspired spiritual voyages. Before he set sail on his final pilgrimage he asked parishioners to pray for his safe return. He wrote in the Parish Newsletter: “When I say, please pray for me, I have to say that I would love sunny skies and warm, helping breezes, but they are not for you to ask.
“They will be as they are. But I do ask your prayers, please, for the fortitude of God being with me, to be strong and of a good courage.”
A spokesman for the Diocese of Salisbury said: “Bob was a larger than life character and rowing was something that was extremely important to him – he was big into it.
“He was really into Celtic spirituality, and very much into rowing off to places, praying, and rowing back again.”
Although a post-mortem is yet to be carried out Police are not treating the death as suspicious. Rev Thorn leaves behind a wife and four children.