Speaker and Host
The Reverend Richard Coles is a musician, journalist, Strictly Come Dancing contestant 2017 and a Church of England priest. He is also a fine and very popular after dinner speaker. He is the presenter of Saturday Live on BBC Radio 4, appeared on Master Chef in 2016, and is a regular guest panelist on shows such as BBC One’s Have I Got News For You and QI. Often described as Britain’s most famous vicar, Richard was the inspiration for the main character in the BBC hit comedy Rev, a programme for which he also served as consultant.
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“He didn't just read a script, he delivered what we asked for and more - an event manager's dream”.
Read more about The Reverend Richard Coles
Richard read Theology at King’s College London, and after ordination worked as a curate in Lincolnshire, then at St Paul’s, Knightsbridge, in London. He was the multi-instrumentalist who partnered Jimmy Somerville in the 1980s band the Communards, which achieved three Top Ten hits, including the Number 1 record and best-selling single of 1986, a club/dance version of “Don’t Leave Me This Way”. He is the author of Fathomless Riches and Lives of the Improbable Saints and lives in his parish of Finedon, Northamptonshire. The hardback of Richard’s memoir Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went From Pop to Pulpit was published in October 2014 and the paperback was published in September 2015. His second memoir Bringing in the Sheaves was published in October 2016. He was awarded an MA by research from the University of Leeds in 2005 for work on the Greek text of the Epistle to the Ephesians.
Richard Coles’ work in the media and unique position as the only Vicar to have had a number one hit record, makes him a popular speaker on the after dinner circuit, regaling many extraordinary and humorous tales of his journey from popstar to priest. With a particular interest in housing communities, he also serves as a board member of Wellingborough Homes, providing social and affordable housing in the borough where he lives, and is also involved with Northampton University. Richard now lives with his civil partner David, also a priest, in their vicarage, which is gradually being destroyed by their seven dachshunds and a cat.
After Dinner Speaking “From Pop Star To Parson”
Having addressed audiences as diverse as local Government Ministers in Marlow and the Independent Schools' Bursars Association to international travel agents in Abu Dhabi and the British Medical Association, The Reverend Richard Coles has refined a highly original, humorous and captivating after dinner speech that will appeal to all audiences. There aren’t many Church of England priests that can claim to having had a British Number 1 hit single... in fact, to-date, the Reverend Richard Coles is the one and only, as part of highly successful pop duo The Communards. In his popular after dinner speech, From Pop Star To Parson, Richard Coles tells a story that is as real as it is unlikely. He connects the euphoria and mayhem of being ‘Top of The Pops’ in the 80s — which resonates with audiences of that era — to his present circumstances as Church of England priest, radio broadcaster and television show panelist — which resonates with all sorts of people — and enables him to reach a wide audience, answering amongst many burning questions, “How do you go from pop star to priest? And why?”
Conference & Keynote Speaking
As a high-profile openly gay priest, the Reverend Richard Coles is increasingly asked to address audiences around the themes of LGBT, Diversity and Inclusion. He also has a particular interest in housing and building communities — he is on the board of a housing association – Wellingborough Homes – and has spoken to several national conferences on this theme. Richard is also frequently asked to speak on other appropriate, but perhaps less obvious speech themes, including Trust and Ethics, to which he can bring a unique and interesting perspective as a member of the clergy. He recently spoke to a group of 200 AXA insurance brokers on trust, to which the client commented afterwards; “We were delighted with Richard Coles' presentation, it was amusing, well delivered and appropriate for the day. We also appreciated the efforts he made to network with our guests before his presentation”.
Award Ceremony Hosting
In addition to after dinner and conference speaking, the Reverend Richard Coles is also popular as a host for award ceremonies; from Third Sector awards for charities to the likes of the British Parking Awards and Association of Car Fleet Operators.
“The Reverend Richard Coles, as you would expect, produced an excellent start to our morning session at conference and it quickly became apparent how popular his BBC radio programme is amongst our delegates. His friendly, matter of fact approach was appreciated by everyone. It was a pleasure to host him and I would appreciate your conveying to him my best wishes.”
May I simply say an enormous thank you for taking the time to come and speak to us at our conference dinner in the Celtic Manor Resort. We certainly appreciated your most amusing speech, which undoubtedly contributed to an outstanding dinner for our members and guests. Your after-dinner speech undoubtedly helped contribute to this.”
Independent Schools' Bursars Association
“We were delighted with the Reverend Richard Coles' presentation, it was amusing, well delivered and appropriate for the day. We also appreciated the efforts he made to network with our guests before his presentation.”
AXA Corporate Solutions Assurance
"On behalf of the M&G Pride Committee, I would like to express our thanks and appreciation to Reverend Richard Coles for a fantastic anniversary event. We really enjoyed the evening, Richard’s talk, and the really great conversation with everyone."
"I have had lots of positive feedback about the Reverend Richard Coles from our guests. They commented on how usually speakers have a set 5 minutes about their background, another 10 on their current work and then may be 5 minutes with a tenuous link to the cause of the night, but with Richard he had clearly put much thought into what he was going to say and he threaded in the link between medicine and religion extremely well. Some doctors said it reaffirmed for them why they decided to study medicine. Richard was very easy going and approachable and our guests enjoyed meeting him very much. As you know this is a very high profile event and we think Richard Coles is one of, if not the best, speaker we have had."
British Medical Association