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About the Awards

As our 2021 awards launches, Rev Richard Coles is unveiled as the star host

Rev Richard Coles has been announced as the presenter of the CFJ/CFA Awards 2021 to be held at Coombe Abbey on Friday 3 September. The news comes as entries have officially opened for the event. Because installations have undoubtedly been affected by Covid-19, CFJ has this year decided to extend the timescale for entries. If you’ve completed an installation between January 2019-December 2020, you’ll be eligible to enter the 2021 awards. Although the success of the 2020 Awards, presented via video by former world snooker champion John Parrott on Friday 11 September, has been widely praised by the awards' sponsors, participants and viewers, the optimistic hope is that next year's event will be held in a world free of Covid-19.

Rev Coles is a priest of the Church of England and Vicar of Finedon in Northamptonshire, where two of his ancestors were vicars in the 17th century (the latter sequestered for malignancy). He has a parallel career in broadcasting and currently co-presents Saturday Live on BBC Radio 4. He appears regularly on television as a panelist on QI and Have I Got News For You. Richard also appears in the Pause For Thought slot on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2. In 2017 and 2018 Richard co-hosted the Big Painting Challenge for BBC1 and was also a contestant in 2017’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Richard read Theology at King’s College London, and after ordination worked as a curate in Lincolnshire and subsequently at St Paul’s, Knightsbridge, in London. He is known for having been 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 ‘Lives of the Improbable Saints’ and ‘Legends of the Improbable Saints’, accounts of some of the more vivid and surprising holy men and women of Christian history. Weidenfeld & Nicolson published the first volume of his autobiography, ‘Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went From Pop to Pulpit’, to wide acclaim in 2014 and the paperback was published in 2015. Richard’s second book ‘Bringing in the Sheaves: Wheat and Chaff from my years as a Priest’ was published in 2016.

He is Patron of the local housing association, Greatwell Homes, and has a particular interest in housing matters. He is also Chancellor of the University of Northampton. He has five sausage dogs.

Rev Richard Coles has been announced as the presenter of the CFJ/CFA Awards 2021

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