Ipswich: “We couldn’t deny our love” – married rector admits affair with parishioner

A MARRIED rector who had an affair with the wife of a Suffolk deputy headteacher today declared: “The love that we have for one another is something we could no longer deny.”

A trio of congregations has been left in shock after it emerged that the Rev Michael Tillett – priest at St Helen’s, Holy Trinity and St Luke’s churches in Ipswich – had enjoyed “extra-marital relations” with parishioner Anne Alcock.

Mr Tillett has stood down from his position after leaving his wife, Sue.

The announcement was made at St Helen’s Church by the Bishop of Dunwich, the Right Rev Clive Young.

A similar statement was read to the congregations of Holy Trinity and St Luke’s.

A statement released by Mr Tillett and Mrs Alcock said: “Michael and Anne regret the heartache that we have caused our families and friends.

“We felt we had no choice but to be open about the love that we had and have still, realising the consequences for both our professional and vocational lives.

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“We are taking some time away in an effort to take the spotlight off our respective families and to seek both peace and understanding.”

They added: “The love that we have for one another is something we could no longer deny.”

A spokesman for St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese said statutory disciplinary procedures had begun after Mr Tillett admitted the relationship late last week.

Mr Tillett’s wife Sue, a 65-year-old mum-of-two, said: “I feel great sadness, shock and bewilderment that this has happened.

“I do not wish there to be any recrimination towards those involved.”

Mrs Alcock is also believed to have been involved in the church.

Graham Alcock, Anne’s husband, who is deputy head at Claydon High School, said: “I would ask for respect for me and my family’s privacy in this difficult time.”

Mr Tillett became a priest in 1999 and was involved in the church at Framlingham with Saxsted from 1998 to 2001. He was then priest in charge at Stoke By Nayland with Leavenheath and Polsted until 2010.

Between 2007 and 2010 he was also rural dean at Hadleigh.

Since 2010 he has been rector at the three Ipswich churches.