Fears for missing Padstow reverend Barry Kinsmen
FEARS were growing this week for the safety of one of Padstow's best-loved characters.
The Reverend Barry Kinsmen's vehicle was found abandoned near Trevone on New Year's Eve.
It is understood a note was found in the vehicle.
Extensive searches of the area by Padstow lifeboat crew and local coastguards had failed to locate the 72-year-old by the time the Cornish Guardian went to press this week.
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A spokesman for Falmouth coastguard said on Wednesday night that the search for the missing man had been called off, and the matter was now in the hands of the police.
Mr Kinsmen was very much involved in community life in the area and was a past mayor of the town.
The Cornish bard was a former head teacher of St Issey Primary School, and a noted local historian. He helped set up Padstow Museum and was a leading member of the town's Old Cornwall Society, and a member of its countywide executive.
He was also a leading light of the town's newsletter, the Padstow Echo, and many local organisations.
The vicar of Padstow, the Reverend Chris Malkinson, said Mr Kinsmen, who was part of the team ministry, was a stalwart of the community and someone everyone knew and loved.
"He really was Mr Padstow, and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the town.
"Padstow is absolutely stunned at what has happened, and everyone is clinging to the hope that he will be found alive,'' said the vicar.
Padstow RNLI press officer Sue Norfolk said a two-day search by the local crew had failed to find the priest.
"Everyone knew Barry – he was the life and soul of Padstow – and everyone is shocked by what has happened,'' she said.
"I knew him all my life and he officiated at my wedding. I'm really devastated,'' said Mrs Norfolk.
Padstow mayor Teri Walter said everyone was deeply saddened at Mr Kinsmen's disappearance.
"He is such a lovely man who is a great supporter of Padstow and someone who everyone knows and likes.
"What seems to have happened is so sad," said Mrs Walter.