Premier’s former chairman has died at the age of 81. Premier’s CEO Peter Kerridge pays tribute to a kind, generous and entrepreneurial man, who helped build Premier into Europe’s largest Christian media organisation 

David Heron1_March 2003

I will always remember my very first phone call with David, when he talked me into coming to work at Premier. I have to say I was a bit dubious about the prospect of getting involved with a radio venture that was in such a poor financial state, but he convinced me that together we could do something quite remarkable. And thanks to his guidance and commitment, that’s exactly what happened.

It has been a wonderful adventure, and Premier is what it is today because of David’s fantastic input over many many years.

Prophetic vision

I remember when digital radio was first being discussed. David looked hard into the potential of the medium and really wanted to be at the forefront of digital broadcasting but, at the time, we were not able to because of legislation which prohibited Christian groups from owning digital licences. So together, we created a campaign to lobby politicians and get the law changed so that Premier was able to enter the digital landscape.

That was quite an undertaking but we managed it, and it was perhaps the first time we realised that Premier had significant power - not just in our broadcasts, but also in our mailing lists and our ability to mobilise a Christian voice to influence parliament.

Premier is now the largest Christian media organisation in Europe and many thousands of people visit websites like this one daily for content that will help them in their spiritual lives. It was David’s vision that drove us to constantly be reinventing ourselves and exploring the limits of how to get to as many people as possible. He helped us pioneer all of the advances that we’ve made over the years.

There are many people across the UK who have been transported into the kingdom because of his work was David’s brainchild and we made some fantastic advances into internet television broadcasting in those early days. All of the video content on Premier’s websites stem from those early endeavours. And the whole of the magazine side of things would not have been possible without David’s commitment to bringing an ailing magazine business into the domain of Premier.

Today, our magazine titles are strong, growing and very well respected. But none of that would have been possible if David hadn’t personally subsidised the venture. In the early 2000s, one of the magazines that we created was Faithworks. Created in partnership with Oasis, and it was a project which sought to amplify the fantastic social action happening through the UK Church. It was a brave attempt to envision church leaders that this was indeed the way the Holy Spirit was moving at that time. The magazine didn’t capture the attention of leaders, or support from other Christian ministries as we’d hoped, but it did put a prophetic landmark down for the future as the Church has continued to move strongly in the area of social justice.

David was also instrumental in forging strong relationships with other parachurch ministries, most notably Care and Spring Harvest, among others. His ability to build relationships was very helpful in ensuring that Premier was able to reach out and develop audiences from within those particular organisations. Church leaders from across many different denominations would often be found in his office planning, dreaming and thinking about what God wants to do with his Church.

During planning for the March for Jesus, Graham Kendrick, Joel Edwards and RT Kendall, our chaplain, would be found regularly sitting with a cup of coffee or tea and a KitKat, as they dreamed dreams in David’s office.

He was often one of the first in and last to leave each day. It was that commitment that built Premier into what it is today. When we met, he would often say: “There’s a lot going on just now”, and throughout the life of Premier, there has indeed been a lot going on - because of David, thanks to David and as a heritage to David. There are many people across the UK who have been blessed, helped and transported into the kingdom because of his work over the decades.

I want to pay tribute to his kindness, generosity, wisdom, insight and vision, as well as his constant care and consideration in his dealings with everyone as we built this organisation. Premier really is David’s legacy, and I’m so very grateful to the Lord to have been able to work on it every day for the best part of two decades with him.