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Pop Star and Broadcaster Turned Anglican Priest Bids Farewell to Premier Radio

Premier Radio broadcaster and presenter Cindy Kent is leaving the station today (Wednesday, September 22, 2010) to take up a post as a Church of England priest, the next step in a remarkable career spanning five decades in which she has gone from pop star to songwriter and broadcaster, before becoming ordained.

Cindy with The Settlers pictured during a sea cruise

Cindy started as a singer with pop group the Settlers in the early 1960s, often with Cliff Richard (now Sir Cliff). She also enjoyed a hit record called The Lightning Tree, the theme tune for the hit TV series Follyfoot.

A change of career to broadcasting saw Cindy presenting features on BBC Radio 4’s religious Sunday Programme, before going on to BBC Radio 2’s Good Morning Sunday and then Radio 1’s Talkabout show.

After helping to pioneer religious broadcasting at LBC and Capital Radio in London, Cindy moved north to present a late-night program at Radio Hallam, a commercial station in Sheffield.

She also presented programs on Tyne Tees Television in Tyneside, writing 25 tunes, with lyrics by David Winter, the former head of BBC radio religious broadcasting, for the Tees TV series Life With Johnny.

In 1995 after Premier finally obtained a broadcasting license and hit London’s airwaves, Cindy was the first presenter the station signed up. She has presented many different programs including currently Premier Tonight with Cindy Kent from 11 pm to 1 am.

Cindy with Dan Wooding and Ray Barnett, founder of the African Children’s Choir, leading a huge march through London on behalf of the ‘Siberian Seven’ in Russia

One memorable experience for her was being at the station on 9/11. Normal programming was abandoned. She told me in an interview: “As I was on the air, I got an e-mail from a lady in the US who had been listening to us and was grateful that I’d got some of our guests to pray as she said she didn’t feel able to do so.

“I can also remember waking up early on Sunday, August 31 1997 to hear the sad news that Princess Diana had died. I rushed into the studio to help co-ordinate a response and was on-air for about six hours straight! As I drove home, I cried all the way in the car as the news sunk in.”

Premier’s CEO Peter Kerridge paid tribute to Cindy: “Cindy is a real pioneer. She has been so instrumental in shaping religious broadcasting here in the UK. She will be greatly missed but this new chapter in her life promises to be just as exciting as all that’s g one before!”

Cindy was ordained as a priest in 2008 and since then has been a non-stipendiary Assistant Curate at St John the Apostle church in Whetstone, north London, combining this with her Premier presenting work.

Cindy (far right) on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral after her ordination

She also told me: “I help with Sunday services, both preaching and celebrating the Eucharist and I am part of the multi-faith chaplaincy team at the local hospice. I also help in other ways in the Parish.

“I am sad to be leaving Premier after all these years. It’s been great to have been part of a ‘trailblazing’ organization, but I feel this is right.”

She added: “In God’s economy, nothing is wasted and I feel that all that I’m doing now is a fulfillment of all I’ve done in the past.”

Note: I have known Cindy for more than 40 years and we joined together some years ago to lead a march with Ray Barnett through London on behalf of the Siberian Seven Christians who were staging a long sit in at the American Embassy in Moscow.

The Reverend Cindy Kent is writing a book about her life and this should be quite a story she will tell.

For further information or an interview with Cindy, please contact Shirin Holloway at shirin.holloway@premier.org.uk or call + 44 (0) 20 7316 1462 b

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