Sidmouth padre serving with troops in Iraq

A FORMER clergyman from Sidmouth is serving alongside British troops in Iraq.

A FORMER clergyman from Sidmouth is serving alongside British troops in Iraq.

The Reverend Robin Richardson, whose first ministry was as a pastor of the Sid Valley Team Ministry, left after joining the Royal Army Chaplains' Department in 2004.

His wife Joy and sons Jonno, Kit and Davy, were all for the idea.

Padre, as he is known to the troops, Robin is currently serving a six-month tour of duty with the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment in Basra, Iraq, helping the Iraqi Army control militias and making Basra safer for Iraqis.

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Robin studied at Loughborough University and was a teacher before he decided to join the church, attending Trinity Theological College in Bristol.

He has served in Afghanistan and Iraq and currently ministers to the needs of over 1,000 soldiers in some of the worlds' toughest places.

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He said: "The biggest challenges for me are personal, having to move my family around, but I'm convinced we are serving God.

"The troops are amazing and it is a privilege to serve with, and to serve for them."

Army chaplains minister to the troops' spiritual and pastoral needs, but also act as impartial friends and supporters for anyone who needs a friendly ear.

There are around 150 Army chaplains.

Six months seems a long time to be away from home, but Robin remains enthusiastic.

"My business is to work outside the walls of a church and look after our soldiers in the field", he said.

Understandably he looks forward to his return before Christmas.

"When I get home, the first thing I'll do is hug Joy and the boys, and then try to catch up with our friends in Sidmouth."


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