Vicar sets arm on fire during first ‘virtual’ service

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Simon Beach was not harmed during the mishap in Plymouth and was able to see the funny side – posting the ‘out-take’ online.

Simon Beach

One local vicar felt the heat while recording his first “virtual” service, after accidentally setting his arm on fire with a church candle.

Simon Beach, 61, vicar of St Budeaux Parish Church in Plymouth, was not harmed during the mishap and was able to see the funny side – posting the “out-take” online.

In the video, Mr Beach is seen leaning in to deliver the final part of his sermon before exclaiming calmly: “Oh dear, I’ve just caught fire.”

He said he had been teased by fellow vicars, who joked about “being on fire for Jesus” and telling him that he “should have waited for Pentecost”.

“People have laughed and laughed, really,” he told the PA news agency.

I wonder if anybody else saw a familiar face on the ITV News West Country tonight! ????#vicaronfire #stbudeauxchurch…

Posted by St Budeaux Parish Church on Saturday, March 21, 2020

“I just felt my arm getting a bit hot. The nice thing is, it did damage my pullover and my shirt but my arm is fine – there’s no burn on my arm.

“The funny thing is, I told my wife and daughter what I’d just done … and while I got the video my daughter said ‘All Dad will say is Oh dear I’m on fire’, which is what I said.”


Mr Beach admitted that he had never made a YouTube video before and that it had felt “surreal”.

Worshippers across the UK are preparing to attend their first Sunday services from their homes and participate over the internet – in line with government guidelines on social distancing.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby broadcast a service on BBC local radio, to then be uploaded to Facebook.

Mr Beach said: “The whole thing is a bit surreal – there’s never been a time where we’ve deliberately not gone to Sunday worship, so that’s very strange.

“I’ve never phoned so many people really, because normally you go and visit people.”

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