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Former Dean of Rochester Cathedral looks for love on Channel 4's First Dates Hotel

By Rachel Dixon

The former Dean of Rochester Cathedral used a Channel 4 show to reveal he has known he is gay all his life despite 25 years of marriage.

Mark Beach, 55, who resigned from his cathedral duties in 2015, appeared on First Dates Hotel last night for the final episode of the series, which helps singletons find love.

He said: “I told my dad aged 17 that I was gay and he said ‘no son of mine is gay’. So I got married.”

Dr Balwant and former Dean of Rochester Cathedral Mark Beach
Dr Balwant and former Dean of Rochester Cathedral Mark Beach

The dating show paired him with philanthropist Dr Balwant, who was very open about his sexuality.

Mr Beach has been openly gay for two or three years.

Mr Beach decided to come out after meeting a man while sailing his long boat through London.

He said: “I was smitten by him. It didn’t last long but it was a life changing experience.

Mark Beach when he was Dean of Rochester Cathedral
Mark Beach when he was Dean of Rochester Cathedral

“I told my wife and she was very disappointed, but she and my daughter have been very supportive over the years.”

After he and his wife split, Mr Beach felt it necessary to resign as Dean of Rochester, but he admits he did not actually tell the bishop his real reasoning.

His date Dr Balwant challenged him, saying he thought the church was more relaxed about sexuality now.

Mr Beach said: “Some figures in the church hold strong beliefs.

“After I resigned I told the bishop, he burst into tears and said ‘this is wonderful that you are able to do this’.”

It was not a romantic success for Mr Beach and Dr Balwant as both decided to leave the show as friends.

Mr Beach concluded: “I’m getting better at emotion but that seems to be to the detriment of people around me.”

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