Long-time CEO of UK Premier Christian Radio Peter Kerridge dies, "do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope"

By Chris Eyte |
Peter Kerridge
Peter Kerridge. | Premier

Visionary leadership, warmth and empathy. These are among some of the key characteristics that Peter Kerridge, long-time Chief Executive Officer of the U.K.’s Premier Christian Radio, will be remembered for, according to tributes that are coming in after his passing on Saturday. 

Kerridge, 63, bravely battled acute leukemia and received a bone stem cell transplant before his passing in the company of family on June 8. He is survived by his wife Karen and two sons.  

A statement on the Premier Christian Radio website referenced 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 that reads, Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

The site links to an online book of condolences open for listeners to write their comments.

“Peter embodied a rare combination of vision, determination and warmth,” the Premier statement read. “He truly believed in the power of Christian media to inspire, enable and encourage. Under his leadership, Premier has become a beacon of hope, reaching millions.

“Peter’s absence leaves a deep sadness in the hearts of everyone who knew him, but his unwavering dedication, sense of humor and kindness will live on in the countless lives he touched and transformed. So together, let’s celebrate the impact he had on all our lies and the enduring legacy he leaves behind.”   

Kerridge came from a church planting baptist family in the town of Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England. He worked as a football reporter for hospital radio before studying theology at Regent’s Park College at University of Oxford. 

He later became head of radio development at Essex Radio Group after freelancing whilst working as associate minister at Avenue Baptist Church in Southend-on-Sea, before taking on his role at Premier when it started on June 10, 2005. 

“Experienced in launching and managing media enterprises,” in his own words, Kerridge worked diligently in navigating Premier into becoming a “national media enterprise” with a digital future. He campaigned hard to see Christian radio succeed from the 1980s.  

The overall aim, he said on a LinkedIn post, was “to help the church present the gospel in ways that the U.K. population can hear and comprehend.” 

Roger Bolton, former chair of trustees for Premier Christian Radio, paid a heartfelt tribute: “Peter could not stop having ideas. They tumbled out of him, all delivered with a chuckle in that gorgeous warm Geordie accent. He was his own man, utterly committed to his Christian faith and to Premier.

“He was one of the earliest to grasp the scale of the digital revolution and ensured that, far from being left behind, Premier was in the advance guard. A new day, a new idea. 

“He achieved the extraordinary transformation of a small startup into one of the most important Christian media networks in the world. Without his drive, vision and ambition, it would not have happened.” 

Kerridge reportedly shared a message with members of the Premier staff, not long before he died. 

"By the time you read this I will be with Jesus,” Kerridge wrote. “Whilst this is not the outcome we hoped for, I can only tell you that in this last year God has been closer to me than at any time in my life, and I know with certainty that I am safe in His hands."