Christian charity workers die in tragic accident

By staff writers
March 23, 2004

-23/3/04

Two Christian charity workers have drowned in a tragic accident in west Africa.

Ruth Brook, 64, from Great Barton, Suffolk, and Keith Thompson from Jacobstow near Bude in Cornwall, died in Sierra Leone.

Ms Brook and Mr Thompson were relaxing on a beach when they were caught in a riptide.

Ms Brook worked for two charities, Mercy Ships UK, which operates a fleet of hospital ships helping the poor in port cities, and Mission Challenge. She had been working on a home for elderly people and had built a dormitory for young people with polio.

Mr Thompson, who was in his 60s, was working with Mercy Ships UK.

Since 1978, Mercy Ships has performed 8,000 operations onboard such as cleft lip and palate, cataract, crossed-eyes, orthopaedic and facial reconstruction. It has also treated more than 200,000 people in village medical clinics as well as providing tens of millions of pounds of medical equipment, hospital supplies, and medicines. Known for its sacrifical work, both career and short-term volunteers raise their own support and pay crew fees to serve.

Mt Thompson was a member of St Michael's Church in Bude.

Reverend Peter Judson said Mr Thompson had three daughters and a son, but lost his wife to illness three years ago.

"Keith was always there and someone you could rely on. He was steadily rebuilding his life after the death of his wife," he said.

He said the thoughts of the congregation were with Mr Thompson's family.

One member of the congregation, Owen May, said Mr Thompson would be sadly missed.

"The news has come as a great shock to everyone. He was a very quiet but terribly sincere man.

"He would go to help people if they had difficulty walking to take communion, for instance."

-23/3/04

Two Christian charity workers have drowned in a tragic accident in west Africa.

Ruth Brook, 64, from Great Barton, Suffolk, and Keith Thompson from Jacobstow near Bude in Cornwall, died in Sierra Leone.

Ms Brook and Mr Thompson were relaxing on a beach when they were caught in a riptide.

Ms Brook worked for two charities, Mercy Ships UK, which operates a fleet of hospital ships helping the poor in port cities, and Mission Challenge. She had been working on a home for elderly people and had built a dormitory for young people with polio.

Mr Thompson, who was in his 60s, was working with Mercy Ships UK.

Since 1978, Mercy Ships has performed 8,000 operations onboard such as cleft lip and palate, cataract, crossed-eyes, orthopaedic and facial reconstruction. It has also treated more than 200,000 people in village medical clinics as well as providing tens of millions of pounds of medical equipment, hospital supplies, and medicines. Known for its sacrifical work, both career and short-term volunteers raise their own support and pay crew fees to serve.

Mt Thompson was a member of St Michael's Church in Bude.

Reverend Peter Judson said Mr Thompson had three daughters and a son, but lost his wife to illness three years ago.

"Keith was always there and someone you could rely on. He was steadily rebuilding his life after the death of his wife," he said.

He said the thoughts of the congregation were with Mr Thompson's family.

One member of the congregation, Owen May, said Mr Thompson would be sadly missed.

"The news has come as a great shock to everyone. He was a very quiet but terribly sincere man.

"He would go to help people if they had difficulty walking to take communion, for instance."

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