Reverend Richard Coles receives Valentine's Day from late partner


Reverend Richard Coles received a Valentine’s Day card from his late partner, two months after his death.

The 57-year-old’s partner of 12 years, Reverend David Coles, died in December 2019 after suffering from a long illness.

However, it seems that while he was in hospital, David, 42, planned to leave a Valentine for Richard.

The Strictly Come Dancing star returned to the Radio 2 Breakfast Show for the Pause For Thought segment for the first time since David’s death to share a sweet anecdote for the day that’s in it.

After being introduced by Zoe Ball, Reverend Richard said: ‘Valentine’s Day, roses and chocolates, dinner for two, a carefully chosen card, with a carefully worded message, awaiting. Did you get one?

‘I did, from my beloved, which came as rather a surprise, not because he is unromantic or forgetful, but because he died in December.

‘With remarkable foresight he arranged for me a Valentine’s card before he departed, and I’m very touched and grateful. And a bit surprised, because in widowhood you think your days of wine and roses are done. Not so.’
David died aged 42 Picture: Twitter)

The former Communards member then shared his experiences from a recent cruise, saying: ‘I’ve just been on a cruise, winter sun in dark days, and – aged a coltish fifty-seven – was one of the younger passengers on board. The demographic naturally includes lots of widows and widowers – and, let me tell you, husbands and wives and civil partners may pass away, but romance is eternal. Eternal, and in some cases persistent.

‘One passenger, a widower of long experience, ripe in years but sprightly in his affections, was known as Romeo Ron. He took up a position at the back of the Calabash Lounge in time for the classic afternoon film, and from there would attempt in age what I imagine were the romantic escapades of his youth. So ardent was he in Sunset Boulevard that I heard a woman’s voice exclaim indignantly from the back seats, “Ron, do I look like a sodding teenager?” Her language was actually a bit saltier than that and when I turned round and she saw my dog collar, she said, unnecessarily, “sorry, Vicar – I’m from London”.’

As the studio burst out laughing, Coles continued: ‘But I was glad to see the spirit of romance still lively on deck seven, glad that the on board florist did a roaring trade, and glad that intimate tables for two were filling the restaurants, lit by the artificial flicker of a Health and Safety compliant fake candle rather than the screens of smart phones. How many of those will tonight lie glowing on the table next to the butter knife in restaurants from Southampton to Wick?
Richard returned to Pause For Thought (Picture: PA)

‘The light may flicker and dim, but it never goes out: for as the Bible reminds us, love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. Happy Valentine’s Day.’

Richard’s story was applauded, with Zoe Ball saying: ‘You have been in our hearts, you have been in our thoughts.

‘Even in your time of grief, you have still been making us all laugh and spreading so much love and helping other people going through grief. We love you, happy Valentine’s Day my lovely, that’s beautiful.’

Reverend Richard first met David back in 2007, when David approached Richard after he performed a sermon, and had been together ever since.

They tied the knot in a civil partnership soon after, and delighted followers online with tales of domestic life – as well as their family of dogs.

Reverend Richard was inundated with messages of support and condolence following David’s death, but he revealed he also was targeted by homophobic abuse.

He tweeted: ‘99.99999% loveliness from people and then a small but lively correspondence from Christians who wish me to know that D is in hell and I will follow.

‘It’s like the Khmer Rouge suddenly popping up in a stream of condolence.’

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