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The ‘Pirate Vicar’

Rev Dominee Gerrit Toornvliet, (pictured right) known affectionately as the 'Pirate Vicar' died on 18th February 1981, aged 73. He was the first evangelist to broadcast on the re-launched Radio Caroline in 1973, and his programmes were heard regularly on the station until the Mi Amigo sank in March 1980.

He was also a backer of other offshore stations, Radio Condor and Capital Radio, in the early 1970s.

Born in IJmuiden on 30th January  1908 he studied theology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and on 3rd November 1935, became a minister of the Reformed Church in Nieuwerkerk. Then he preached in Wolfheze, Groningen and as a student graduate in Leiden until he reached Bloemendaal in 1956.

In Bloemendaal the church had a  radio station, which made Toornvliet famous throughout the country. Around his preaching there was a "radio congregation", and Toornvliet held church services in various places across the country.

Because he did not always adhere to church rules, he repeatedly came into conflict with the church authorities and was suspended in 1968, after which he founded the Radiogemeente Foundation and went on to broadcast via Radio Luxembourg, Radio Caroline, Radio Mi Amigo  and (after his death)  Radio Monique.

The  Hold

HOLD Noun - cavity in a ship below deck where cargo is stowed. Also the area used to house transmitters on many radio ships.

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