Former deputy CEO John Buckeridge reflects on the legacy CEO Peter Kerridge leaves behind him, and how the acquisition of Woman Alive was part of his wider vision to equip and encourage Christian women

Working alongside Peter Kerridge as his deputy for many years, I became aware in 2018 of a possible new acquisition to the group of magazines we published at Premier. 

For some years before then, Peter and I had discussed the possibility of Premier publishing a magazine specifically aimed at Christian women. Given that there were, in the early decades of the 21st century, a couple of other titles aimed at this target group, we held back. Following a conversation with the then CEO of CPO, who owned and had published Woman Alive magazine for a couple of decades, I told Peter about this possibility. He was immediately very interested to learn more about the health of the title including its circulation numbers; asking me to set up meetings between himself and other senior staff at Premier and CPO to explore this option.

Working alongside him was exhilarating and at times exhausting

Peter was always very aware that two-thirds of active Christians in the UK are women. “The British Church would fold if it were not for women,” was something I heard him say many times. He had, for years, enthusiastically backed Premier programme strands and events that aimed to minister specifically to women. He was impatient of ecclesiastical structures that failed to promote and champion women and insisted that Premier literature prominently featured images of women, especially women of colour, in order to represent the UK Church demographic and the Premier audience base. 

So it was no surprise to me that Peter strongly supported the decision to acquire Woman Alive in 2019. He wanted Premier to publish a title that was relevant and encouraging to Christian women of all ages and believed that by updating design elements and refreshing the editorial content, Woman Alive magazine could have a positive future within Premier. 

From day one, Peter’s vision was for the magazine to be much more than a paper-based title. Multi-media had been his mantra for many years. Encouraging the dynamic, newly recruited magazine editor, Tola-Doll Fisher, to take Woman Alive beyond just print into digital articles online, social media comment, radio and TV shows; Doll needed no second invitation to spread her ministry wings!


Willing to take risks

Peter had a daring and at times almost reckless faith. His passion to see the life-changing message of Jesus reach and impact as many people as possible was irrepressible. Working alongside him was exhilarating and at times exhausting. He once told me his favourite Bible story was of Elisha, the widow and the miracle of the jar of oil that never ran out (2 Kings 4:1-7). That tells you a lot about Peter. He was prepared to live life close to the edge. He believed that God would supply all our needs, but that often meant living with a bold and risky faith. At times that was scary. If you ever heard or read an appeal from Peter Kerridge seeking financial support for Premier, that was not Peter crying wolf, it was because Premier really needed that money to keep operating. 

He was impatient of ecclesiastical structures that failed to promote and champion women

Woman Alive is a part of the legacy that Peter leaves behind. The economics of acquiring this magazine didn’t initially make sense from a purely financial viewpoint. But Peter believed that equipping and encouraging Christian women was a vital ministry. 

More important than structures, magazine titles, radio stations, websites, events, helplines and other Premier platforms, Peter leaves behind many lives changed and impacted because he was prepared to keep trusting and keep believing for more of God’s blessings to pour out and change people. 

John Buckeridge held senior roles in Christian publishing for over 30 years. He is the author of 8 books and the founding editor of Premier Youthwork magazine