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George Pitcher is a journalist, author, public relations pioneer and an Anglican priest. He was appointed Secretary for Public Affairs to the Archbishop of Canterbury in October 2010 and left the post a year later. Previously, he was Religion Editor of Telegraph Media from May 2008 and wrote a regular column and occasional leaders for the Daily Telegraph and a contentious blog for telegraph.co.uk. He left the paper in June 2010, six weeks after editor-in-chief Will Lewis abruptly departed after a strategic disagreement. He has since been a regular contributor to RightMinds, the Daily Mail's on-line comment site.
He was Industrial Editor of The Observer between 1988 and 1991, during which his commentary on the high summer of Thatcherite utility privatisation led to the Industrial Society (the precursor to the Work Foundation) voting him National Newspaper Industrial Journalist of the Year in 1991.
In 1992, he co-founded the innovative communications consultancy Luther Pendragon with Charles Stewart-Smith, the television journalist. The firm grew through the Nineties off the back of major and often controversial clients such as British Gas, Kimberly Clark, Holocaust Memorial Day and the Hinduja family.
Luther Pendragon lays claim to having developed the professional practice of issues management, but this is disputed in the PR industry. In 2005, the firm was subject to a management buy-out, said to be worth £11 million by the trade magazine PR Week.
Church of England ministry
Pitcher had undertaken training for ordained ministry in the Church of England and was ordained curate of St Bride's Church, Fleet Street, London - known as "the journalists' church". He is now Associate Priest at St Bride's. He has organised topical debates in church and a Christmas concert by Seventies supergroup Jethro Tull.
He occasionally attacks the conservative evangelical wing of the Church in print. He has also expressed concern about the entry of Anglican priests into the Catholic Church after the Holy Office accepted the creation of personal ordinariates for disaffected High Church traditionalists. He has been an outspoken opponent of the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia in the UK.
He has also criticised the National Secular Society on the grounds that its website used language about "campaigning", "fighting" and that "it reads entirely like it is fighting a war to expunge religion from people's lives, even to make it something of which to be ashamed and contemptuous."
Educated at Blundell's School in Tiverton, Devon, he has honours degrees in Contextual Theology from Middlesex University (2005) and in Drama and Theatre Arts from Birmingham University (1977). Pitcher lives with his wife and several children in Sussex.
Numerous articles in newspapers and magazines, usually on business topics and public ethics. His book, A Time To Live: The Case Against Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia was published in July 2010 by Lion Hudson. In 2002, Wiley published his work The Death of Spin, an indictment of the superficiality of business and politics. In 1989, he published The Public Faced: Your Message and the Media with Charles Stewart-Smith, illustrated with the Alex cartoon strip.
- It's time for Dr Rowan Williams to square up to a rampant Rome
- Notable Old Blundellians
- Pendragon's Pitcher turns spin on its head