The Reverend Richard Coles was born in Northampton and educated at Wellingborough School and later King’s College London where he studied theology. He holds an MA by research from the University of Leeds. Reverend Coles received an honorary doctorate from the University in 2012. He was installed as Chancellor of the University of Northampton in July 2017.
The Chancellor is the ceremonial head of the University. Through his involvement in the life of the University, the Chancellor articulates, sustains and exemplifies its mission and values. The Chancellor’s role is to preside at graduation ceremonies, conferring awards on the University’s graduates. He is a focus of inspiration for student and staff communities. The Chancellor also acts as a public supporter and ambassador for the University, and through his relationship with the Board of Governors and the senior management, supports the stewardship of the University.
Ordained in 2005, Reverend Coles is Vicar of St Mary the Virgin in Finedon in the Diocese of Peterborough. He combines this with a career as a radio broadcaster and television presenter. He co-presents BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live show and is a regular guest on flagship television shows such as Have I Got News for You and QI.
Reverend Coles was one of the advisers for the BBC hit comedy Rev. Since 2014 he has appeared regularly in the ‘Pause for Thought’ slot on Radio 2’s Chris Evans Breakfast Show, and in the summer of 2016 took part in the BBC’s prime-time programme Celebrity Masterchef. Most recently he co-presented The Big Painting Challenge on BBC One. Reverend Coles was also one half of 1980s pop duo The Communards with whom he had three top ten hits.
In addition he has a keen interest in social enterprise, particularly in the field of housing. He serves as a board member of Wellingborough Homes, which provides social and affordable housing in the area.
To date, Reverend Coles has published four books, two volumes of autobiography, ‘Fathomless Riches’ and ‘Into the Harvest’, and two volumes on the lives of lesser-known saints, ‘Lives of the Improbable Saints’ and ‘Legends of the Improbable Saints’.