FORMER BBC radio presenter and journalist John Barnes has joined Rossendale Radio.

Mr Barnes worked for over 20 years as Rock FM and Red Rose Radio news editor and a presenter on BBC Radio Lancashire.

He will now present a Sunday morning show on Rossendale Radio 104.7 FM, a new challenge he says he is looking forward to getting stuck in to.

Mr Barnes said: “This time last year I had no intention of leaving the BBC but like for so many of us lockdown forced me to rethink my priorities. The BBC wanted me to stay but it was the right time for me to move on to the next stage. Right now, I’m renovating our 300 year old house with my husband Dave and will be taking on more work when that’s done but right now I want to get back to doing a little bit of radio as it’s always been in my blood.”

Before moving to Lancashire from the West Midlands in 1994, Mr Barnes had also worked on radio in Birmingham, Worcester and Reading and has managed commercial stations in Wales and Yorkshire.

He has previously presented on local stations in Northampton, Dunstable, Gloucester and Bristol and has worked for BBC television in the Midlands.

Since moving to Lancashire he has also become well known thanks to his involvement in English Civil War and Napoleonic re-enactment groups and as a town crier in St Annes on Sea.

Now Mr Barnes is ready to bring his wealth of experience to listeners in Rossendale, with lockdown leaving people more in need of entertainment than ever.

He said: “After working from home for the last year I’ve grown a rather fashionable lockdown beard which hopefully shouldn’t prove to be too much of an issue on the radio!”