Charles Hall: Vicar ran Broads sailing holidays for youngsters

A love of sailing on the Broads brought to Norfolk a former naval officer and vicar, the Rev Charles Hall, who has died aged 70.

And hundreds of youngsters were able to enjoy sailing holidays as part of his Cormorant project, which started about 27 years ago.

He launched the half-term sailing holidays on the Broads for youngsters aged between 11 and 16 while working as a priest in inner-city Nottingham.

When he was promoted to rector of the Thetford team ministry in 1997, the sailing scheme expanded to cover the Norwich diocese and further afield.

By last year, a fleet of about 10 craft were involved, each crewed with between four and six youngsters, who could have a supervised October half-term sailing holiday.

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But the Rev Hall, who spent eight years in the town, was keen to make St Cuthbert's Church more accessible for public events and to broaden the ministry's appeal.

This project, which involved raising more than �220,000, later encountered severe problems when the east wall of the Victorian church, built on medieval foundations, collapsed several years ago.

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However, the work is now moving forward towards the final stages, said the rector Canon Bob Baker.

Rev Hall had been instrumental in opening the new Cloverfield Church during his time at Thetford, he said.

The former naval lieutenant told the EDP in 1997 that a love of Norfolk was one factor moving him to take up the post because he had regularly sailed on the Broads.

'I am very attracted to Norfolk and wanted to come to a church which related to the whole town and community instead of a suburb or part of a city,' he said.

His ministry included the churches at Kilverstone, Croxton, East Wretham and Cloverfield and he was rural dean of Thetford and Rockland for four years until 2003.

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, wrote: 'Bishops cherish priests like Charles.

'He was secure in his faith and in himself and his family life. He was the sort of priest people appreciate as a companion when in trouble and a friend with whom to share times of joy.

'He had a passion to serve young people, especially when they were under sail on the broads,' said Bishop Graham.

He leaves a widow, Susie, and daughters Charlotte, Sally, and Caroline.

A funeral service will be held at Norwich Cathedral on Thursday, January 27, at 11.45

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