In the early 1980s I met Peter Ball during my adult confirmation at All Saints Church and also through the then vicar Rev Francis Cumberledge.
Peter Ball appeared to be a lovely, kind, caring person with a mischievous sense of humour. During the confirmation service Francis stepped back onto a candle.
Unaware that his surplice was on fire he continued with the service until members of the congregation rushed up to put out the flames.
After the service, Peter Ball came up to Francis and myself and others and with a mischievous smile on his face told Francis that his congregation must like him as he (Peter) had met some congregations that would have let their vicar burn!
It was also during the early eighties that the parish welcomed a number of young men through a scheme run by Peter Ball.
These were lovely, kind almost naïve people that I became friends with.
My heart breaks now at the thought that any one of them could have been a victim of Peter Balls abuse.
How could anyone who did so much good, have done so much horrendous harm?
How can any of us sit in a church now and trust the person giving the sermon to us?
Peter Ball, Charles Richardson and the many other clergymen who have been involved in abuse, whether physical, psychological or through child pornography have not only done tremendous harm to their innocent victims but also to the church as a whole.
For me trust has been destroyed. I have my faith, I am a Christian, but find it hard now to say that I belong to anyone particular domination.
The ‘church’, whether Catholic or CofE, has a lot of work to do in order to restore trust in them again.
I honestly don’t know if that is possible. I hope it is, I pray it is, but I don’t know.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
3) Follow us on Twitter @HastingsObs
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
The Hastings Observer - always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.