A POPULAR radio presenter is to be ordained as a minister in what’s a first for Cumbria.

BBC Radio Cumbria’s Richard Corrie has been selected for training by the Diocese of Carlisle, which is the Church of England in Cumbria.

It’s a decision that realises an ambition that the broadcaster has held for more than 20 years, having applied for ordination twice before, the first time in 1998.

He will begin his training in September, but will continue to work for the BBC, where he has a loyal following with his early-morning weekday show and Sunday breakfast programme.

At the end of his training he will be known as the Rev Richard Corrie.

The 45-year-old was working at the fish and chip shop he owns in Wigton when the call came through to confirm his success.

He said: “In all the excitement the phone nearly ended up in the chip fryer. But, to be honest, I wouldn’t have cared.

“I knew so many people had been praying for me, both before and after the selection process but I still couldn’t call it. When I was told I’d got through I was totally wowed and then I got on the ‘phone to tell my mam.”

Richard was was born in Carlisle and attended the city’s St Barnabas Church from a young age, later moving to Currock Methodist, St Herbert’s Currock and latterly St Michael’s and St Mark’s Stanwix, where he continues to minister as a reader.

He studied media at the city’s Institute of the Arts before first presenting on CFM. He joined BBC Radio Cumbria on a permanent contract in 2008, having already freelanced there.

After completing his training – through the God for All team based at the diocese’s Church House in Penrith – Richard will be an assistant minister.

He said: “This has been a different approach towards ordination but the right one for me. Previously it was about going away to train at college for three years and then coming back to help run a parish. But now I’ll train here in the county.

“I’m passionate that other Cumbrians who feel called to ordination are able to move forward in this way.

“For me ministry is all about communication. That’s what I do through my job in the media and through my job on a Sunday morning. For some people who can’t get to church, I may already feel like their ‘radio vicar’, so I truly believe my ministry and my broadcasting will go hand in hand.”

The Rev Canon Peter Clement, diocesan director of ordinands, will support Richard in his training.

He said: “At times this has been a challenging journey. He has experienced knock-backs but his faith has always remained steadfast and I know he understands that it has been God’s timing to get him to where he is now.”

He is one of seven people to be selected for ordination within the county.

The news has been welcomed by his colleagues.

Graham Moss, assistant editor at BBC Radio Cumbria, said: “Richard and I have worked together for more than 20 years and for as long as I’ve known him he’s been talking about pursuing this calling. I’ve shared the disappointments when things haven’t progressed, so I’m delighted that he’s finally been selected.

“We know that the hard work starts here and that Richard has to combine this with his day job of producing and presenting radio programmes, but everyone is really pleased for him.”