Vicar quit over his 'affair' with curate

A MARRIED Ipswich vicar quit after having an illicit affair with his church's female curate, it was claimed today.

A MARRIED Ipswich vicar quit after having an illicit affair with his church's female curate, it was claimed today.

The Reverend Keith White, vicar of St John the Baptist Church in Cauldwell Hall Road, and the Rev Lynne Thorpe, an ordained minister who works in the parish, shocked the congregation when they mysteriously stepped down from their posts on Sunday.

In a statement issued on behalf of the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, the Rt Rev Richard Lewis, the pair indicated that “personal reasons” were behind their decision to leave.

However, church officials had refused to be drawn on whether Rev White, a father-of-three, and Rev Thorpe, married to a milkman and a mother-of-three, were in a relationship.

But a church insider was today said to have broken the wall of silence and confirmed the two had found love in the aisles.

It is believed they embarked on a relationship when Rev Thorpe, of King Edward Road, began working for Rev White as his curate.

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Rev White, 52, is married to a teacher, Gaynor, who is employed at St Joseph's College in Ipswich.

The Merseyside-born vicar, who lives in the vicarage in Cauldwell Hall Road, attracted many churchgoers to St John's by making references to his favourite football team Everton and posting his sermons on the internet.

He was also understood to have been a professional footballer with Tranmere Rovers reserves before joining the ministry.

Rev Thorpe, 44, began her church career as a community link worker and was later ordained a priest at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

Neither were available to comment on their resignations.

Diocesan spokesman Nick Clarke refused to confirm or deny that the couple were seeing each other, claiming it was a “personal matter”. Neighbours also remained tight-lipped on the story.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Rev White has also quit as chairman of the governors at a nearby St John's Primary School, in Victory Road.

Headteacher Helen Picton said: “Rev Keith White has resigned from his position as vicar of the St John the Baptist Church with immediate effect. He has also resigned from his position as chairman of the school governors with immediate effect. We would ask for thoughts and prayers for all those affected by this sad situation.”

The parish will now be cared for by church wardens and ministry teams in association with the Rural Dean, Canon Peter Townley.

Would you like to pay tribute to the work of Rev White or Rev Thorpe for the church? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to