Radio 2 and The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival ‘Pause For Thought’ competition winner announced

I’d like to congratulate Reverend Oxley on his achievement and welcome him to Radio 2. It’s always very heartening to welcome a new voice to the network.”Bob Shennan, Controller, Radio 2 and 6 Music
Date: 07.10.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 17.54
Category: Radio 2
The Reverend Paul Oxley, vicar of St Mark’s in Milton Keynes, has been announced as the winner of BBC Radio 2’s search for a new faith-based broadcasting talent to present its Pause For Thought slot.

He has now won the opportunity to deliver six broadcasts on faith matters for Pause For Thought on The Vanessa Feltz Show, which airs on BBC Radio 2 every weekday between 5am and 6.30am. Rev. Oxley’s very first broadcast on her show was this morning (Monday, 7 October).

The winner was chosen by a panel including Radio 2 presenter Vanessa Feltz; Controller of Radio 2, Bob Shennan; Religion Correspondent for The Times, Ruth Gledhill; and Director, Coexist Programmes, Michael Wakelin.

The initiative aimed to identity inspirational faith-based speakers and was open to people of all faiths. Applicants were asked to submit audio recordings of a two-minute religious reflection suitable for transmission in the Pause For Thought slot on Radio 2’s The Vanessa Feltz Show.

Shortlisted applicants were then invited to attend a workshop at Radio 2 to build their public speaking skills before the panel met to choose the winner. Vanessa Feltz announced Rev. Oxley as the victor at the The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival on Sunday.

Rev. Oxley says: "I was just treating it like a day out and then I won, which was incredible - I wasn't expecting that. Everyone else was great, so I wasn't expecting to beat them. I haven't won anything since I won monopoly last Christmas and I've never won a bunch of flowers, so it was a treat all round."

Bob Shennan, Controller of Radio 2 and 6 Music, says: “Pause For Thought is a distinctive part of the Radio 2 schedule and the standard of talent in this year’s search was extremely high. I’d like to congratulate Reverend Oxley on his achievement and welcome him to Radio 2. It’s always very heartening to welcome a new voice to the network.”

Vanessa Feltz says: “The standard of all the finalists was extremely high, but Reverend Oxley stood out like a beacon. I thoroughly enjoyed his first broadcast. He did magnificently and it received a great response from my lovely listeners.”

The new voices search was conducted by TBI Media, who produce Pause For Thought for BBC Radio 2, in association with The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival and The Coexist Foundation, an organisation which aims to build bridges across divides by combining theological expertise with excellence in cultural programmes.

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