Chris Bard, BBC Essex’s Faith producer and presenter, died suddenly at the weekend while researching a broadcasting project in Ireland.
Chris had presented the Sunday faith programme since 2001 and also made documentaries on the building of Brentwood Cathedral, the Weeley Pop Festival, Bradwell Chapel and modern Roman Catholic hymn writing.
Editor of BBC Essex, Gerald Main says: “All the staff at the station were shocked and saddened to learn of Chris’s sudden death.
“Chris was a gifted communicator and broadcaster with the ability to distil the most complex issue into a simple idea our audience could connect with. He also played a pastoral role at the station – always willing to listen and provide support to those in need.
“Chris will be sadly missed and our thoughts today are with his family.”
Chris made his first broadcast on BBC Radio Kent in 1975, and followed it by working as a volunteer on the Faith team of BBC Radio Cleveland. He started at BBC Essex in 1989 as a religious producer but had been involved with local radio in Essex since 1981.
After studying at Kings College London and Canterbury, Chris was ordained in Durham Cathedral. He served two curacies near Stockton–on–Tees and worked in Arts and Recreation, being chaplain to Punk Rock in the late Seventies.
He came to Essex over 25 years ago to be the Bishop’s press officer and vicar of Epping Upland. He was also Chaplain to Capel Manor College (London’s Horticultural College).
Chris leaves a wife, Mary, and two adult daughters, Ellen and Sarah.