Caroline Wyatt, the BBC’s religious affairs correspondent, is to step down as a reporter after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) late last year.
Wyatt said she was “tremendously sad” to be leaving her reporting job “at a time that understanding religion has rarely been more important”. She will continue to present radio programmes for the BBC, possibly starting by the end of 2016.
In a statement, Wyatt said: “I have been utterly overwhelmed by the support I’ve had from my colleagues, friends and family in recent days and months, and am so grateful for the support the BBC is giving me while I recover from my current relapse.”
Wyatt had lived with MS for 25 years before last year’s diagnosis, which she said “came as a relief as it enables me to have treatment and to do all I can to manage it.”
Wyatt joined the BBC in 1991, and worked as defence correspondent and as a foreign correspondent in many countries, before becoming religious affairs correspondent in 2014.
Last year, Wyatt said journalists needed to be “braver in how we think through and apply the religious dimension, and I don’t just say that only because I’m now covering religious affairs”.
She added: “Globalisation has meant that there is a whole world out there to whom religion is very important and for whom secularism or the idea of separation between religion and state is not necessarily something people believe in or want. We need to start getting our minds in the West around how other people think.”
Wyatt was born in Australia but educated at a Catholic school, the Convent of the Sacred Heart School, in Surrey.
She has reported regularly for the BBC from Berlin, Moscow and Paris, and as a war reporter in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Wyatt said it had been a “privilege” to cover the leadership of Pope Francis and of Justin Welby, and to meet the many Muslims in the UK and elsewhere who are making clear that the theology and ideology of the so-called Islamic State does not represent the mainstream of their faith.”
She said: “When I return to work in the autumn, I am really looking forward to starting a new chapter as a presenter for BBC radio, and I hope in the future to raise both awareness and money for more research into MS.”
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