Search continues for Padstow's Reverend Barry Kinsmen after car is found on clifftop
Police were yesterday continuing to search for a missing retired vicar whose car was found abandoned close to a Cornish clifftop.
The Reverend Barry Kinsmen's vehicle was discovered 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 coastguards failed to locate the 72-year-old.
A spokesman for Falmouth coastguard said the search for Mr Kinsmen was now in the hands of the police.
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A stalwart of Padstow community life and a past mayor of the town, Mr Kinsmen was a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd, former headteacher of St Issey Primary School and a noted local historian and author.
Some years ago he helped to set up Padstow Museum and was a leading member of the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies.
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' with an encyclopedic knowledge of the town," he said.
"Padstow is absolutely stunned at what has happened and everyone is clinging to the hope that he will be found alive." Padstow RNLI press officer Sue Norfolk said a two-day search by the local crew had failed to find the priest.
"Everyone knew Barry," she said. "He was the life and soul of Padstow – and everyone is shocked by what has happened. I knew him all my life and he officiated at my wedding. I'm really devastated."
Padstow town mayor Teri Walter added that everyone in the area was deeply saddened by Mr Kinsmen's disappearance.
"He is such a lovely man who is a great supporter of Padstow and someone who everyone knows and likes," said Mrs Walter.
"What seems to have happened is so sad."