The Reverend Richard Coles – the only vicar in the UK to have had a No 1 hit – has been confirmed as our after dinner speaker at our Members’ Dinner on November 16th.
The controversial former pop star was the instrumentalist half of pop band The Communards, together with Jimmy Somerville – and hit the top spot with Don’t Leave Me This Way. The band split in 1988 and after a period of soul searching and later study, Richard went back to his roots and became a vicar in the same village that two of his ancestors preached: Finedon, Northamptonshire. Many of you will have heard him on Radio 4 on Saturday mornings and will know how warm and funny he can be. He will share a wealth of fascinating insights into his colourful and varied career at our special event in the sumptuous surroundings of The Royal Horseguards Hotel in London.
A classically trained pianist, Reverend Richard Coles is also an opera reviewer, the regular host of BBC 4’s Saturday Live programme – and can often be seen on celebrity panel shows such as ‘Have I Got News For You.
Our Members’ Dinner, a key event in the IOE’s 2016 calendar, will celebrate the Institute’s formative developments and achievements across this year.
IOE director general, Lesley Batchelor OBE, said: “If anyone tells you ‘it ain’t necessarily so’ they’re talking about the song, not how funny Reverend Richard Coles is! He is guaranteed to strike the right chord as he regales our members and guests with extraordinary and humorous tales of his journey from popstar to priest.
“Our Members’ Dinner is both a celebration and a way to recognise our valued members’ dedication to professionalism in international trade and we are very much looking forward to it.”