New rural dean is riding the waves

A North Norfolk vicar is getting on board for two new challenges - taking the reins as a rural dean and hitting the waves as a budding surfer.

The Rev David Court, Anglican vicar of Cromer, has been appointed by the Bishop of Norwich as rural dean for the Repps Deanery of about 30 churches on and near the county's north-east coast.

And, aged 52, he has been inspired by two recent additions to his ministry team to take to the waves in a wetsuit with a surfboard under his feet.

Mr Court, who moved from St Catherine's Mile Cross in Norwich to Cromer in 2003, is married to Ann. The couple have three children, Jonny, Matt and Naomi.

He said he saw the role of rural dean as 'shop steward', representing to the bishop the views of the clergy, and 'sometimes as the bishop's enforcer', representing his views to the clergy.

He said: 'I'm excited by the opportunity to seed some ideas and see if there are ways for the Anglican churches to work together for this area.

'The big challenge is looking after so many historic churches at the same time as serving the people. How do we balance those with the resources that we have?'

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The appointment of Cromer parish youth minister and keen surfer Ed Land last year, followed this year by the arrival of another surfing fan, curate David Frederick (known as Fred), has inspired Mr Court to take up the sport for the first time in recent weeks.

He said: 'I've been here seven-and-a-half years and it has taken me that long to get into the water. It's great to see Ed and Fred inspired by something. I thought I could have a go at it.

'I'm still at the stage of splashing around in the water, though.'