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4 months ago

UK vicar is defying stereotypes by moonlighting as a RACECAR DRIVER

A vicar of 17 years is defying stereotypes - by moonlighting as a RACECAR DRIVER.Simon Butler, 42, looks after 12 churches in rural Hampshire - which he juggles alongside motor racing.The dad-of-three began go-kart racing in his early teens and his passion grew as he continued to work to become a vicar.And next year, Simon, who lives in Upton Grey, will even be travelling to France to compete in the iconic Le Mans race.He says his flock has embraced his passion - often going to support him him at races and even nicknaming him 'the racing Reverend'.Now Simon wants to break the stereotype that suggests vicars are meek and mild mannered and "spend most of their time drinking tea and eating cake".He said: "I've been racing from a young age - and as I grew up it became a chance to escape the pressures of parish life."While some vicars may use study and writing to refresh themselves, my refresh is in the cockpit of a race car."I'm a very competitive person and I love pushing myself beyond my limits - I love the thrill of driving very fast."My parishioners are actually very supportive of it and come to watch me at races."It's always surprised me that people see vicaring and racing as being incongruous."They think of the stereotyped playboy racing driver and the meek and mild rural vicar and the two seem worlds apart - but for me they go hand in hand."Racing doesn't detract from my parish work - in fact it and makes it better."Simon began his racing journey with go-karting at the age of 13 before eventually moving to single-seat racing.As he began training to become ordained, he kept racing alongside his work.Up until now, Simon - @racing_reverand on Twitter - has always raced for fun, but he now plans to step it up to the next level.In 2023 he will be due three months sabbatical, which is time away from parish responsibilities once every seven years to refresh and rest.And he will spend it travelling to France to compete in the world famous 24 Hours of Le Mans.