Archbishop of Canterbury may testify at inquiry into claims of abuse at Christian holiday camps 2 min read

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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby may testify at inquiry into claims of sadistic abuse at Christian holiday camps

  • Church of England launched an inquiry into claims of abuse at holiday camps
  • Justin Welby may give evidence to the review into camps run by John Smyth QC
  • Archbishop Welby worked at the holiday camps in the 1970s and knew Smyth, who headed the Iwerne Trust, which financed them 

The Church of England launched an inquiry yesterday into claims of sadistic abuse at Christian holiday camps where the Archbishop of Canterbury once worked.

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The Archbishop, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, may give evidence to the review into camps that were run by John Smyth QC.

It will be headed by former social services chief Keith Makin.

Archbishop Welby worked at the holiday camps in the 1970s and knew Smyth, who headed the Iwerne Trust, which financed them.

The Archbishop, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, may give evidence during an inquiry into claims of sadistic abuse at Christian holiday camps

Smyth is said to have subjected boys to tens of thousands of lashes, telling them that they would be purged of sins including pride.

One alleged victim, Mark Stibbe, said he was told the beatings would help him to become holy. Another, Richard Gittins, said the boys who were compelled to wear adult nappies to let their wounds heal.

A third alleged victim was the Right Reverend Andrew Watson, now the Bishop of Guildford. In 2017, he said: ‘The beating I endured in the infamous garden shed was violent, excruciating and shocking.’

Smyth was allowed to go abroad to work in Africa after allegations against him emerged. He died in Cape Town a year ago, aged 77.

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The Church’s bishop in charge of preventing child abuse, the Right Reverend Peter Hancock, said: ‘This review into the Church’s response – and the response of others – is vital.’ There is no suggestion that Archbishop Welby was involved in the alleged abuse.

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