Harry Gration: Tributes pour in for Ex-BBC Look North presenter

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Harry Gration
Image caption,
Harry Gration joined BBC Look North as a presenter in 1982 and left the show in October 2020

Celebrities, sports fans and politicians have led tributes to former BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration following his death at the age of 71.

Mr Gration joined the BBC in 1978 and Look North in 1982. He presented his last show in 2020.

He had also reported for Match of the Day and Grandstand and commentated on Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

Cricket fans at the Headingley test match on Saturday joined in a round of applause for the broadcaster.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Cricket fans at the Headingley test match paid tribute

Yorkshire County Cricket Club was among those from the world of sport to pay tribute to Mr Gration, who was a club board member between 2013 and 2015.

In a statement, it said: "As a lover of cricket, he was often seen at Headingley and other local grounds either with microphone in hand, or for the love of the game.

"The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Harry's family and friends at this difficult time."

Image source, Yorkshire County Cricket Club
Image caption,
Yorkshire County Cricket Club paid tribute to the "lover of cricket"

In an emotional announcement at the end of Friday's Look North, Mr Gration's former co-presenter Amy Garcia said he had died "very suddenly" that day.

"We are absolutely heartbroken to give you this news," she said.

Former BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker described Mr Gration as "a true gentleman", while former Look North presenter Christa Ackroyd wrote on Facebook: "RIP Harry. Love you forever my friend."

Peter Levy, who presents Look North in East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, said he was devastated by the news.

"You can tell by the number of messages how much he was loved," he said.

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Posting on Twitter, LBC's James O'Brien added: "I don't think any broadcasters build a bond with their audience as strong as the ones built by long serving presenters of regional news.

"They are part of the furniture when you're at home & part of home when you're not.

"Harry Gration embodied this. Thank you & good night."

Jay Rayner - chair of Radio 4's Kitchen Cabinet and Out To Lunch podcast - wrote on Twitter the presenter's death was a "great loss".

"Harry was a significant part of my student days in Leeds as the face of the region's news, and later, as I became a journalist, hugely supportive and encouraging," he wrote.

Mr Gration, who had also presented South Today during his career, left the BBC in October 2020, the day before his 70th birthday.

At the time he said he had "always lived the story".

Events such as the death of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox, the Bradford riots, the Hillsborough disaster and recent flooding in Yorkshire had "always affected me", he said.

Image caption,
Harry Gration with fellow Look North presenter Amy Garcia and weather presenter Paul Hudson in 2020

Ms Cox's sister and current Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater described Mr Gration as a "Yorkshire legend and a true gentleman".

"I will never forget his kindness & compassion," she wrote on Twitter.

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Other politicians echoed the sentiments, with MP for Barnsley Central Dan Jarvis saying: "His wit and wisdom will be much missed.

"Yorkshire will be a lesser place without him,"

BBC Director-General Tim Davie said Mr Gration - who was presented with an MBE in 2013 - was "an outstanding broadcaster and commentator".

"He had a real connection with the public who saw him as one of their own," Mr Davie said.

"Loved everywhere, but especially in Yorkshire, he will be hugely missed by his many fans and friends. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time."

In a post on Facebook, Mr Gration's wife Helen thanked everyone for "the beautiful" tributes.

"We are in such disbelief that his chair remains empty today & his coffee cup unused.

"You are going to be missed so very much - what a legend," she added.

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