Coronavirus: Former BBC radio presenter dies with virus

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image captionJohn Hood won an award for his rescue of four teenage girls in 2016

A former BBC radio presenter who died with coronavirus had "touched so many people's lives", his ex-partner has said.

John Hood, 66, was well known on BBC Radio Suffolk before becoming a police community support officer.

In August 2016, he pulled ashore a raft with four teenage girls which had been drifting out to sea, earning a Stars of Suffolk award for the rescue.

His ex-partner Jayne Lindill said friends and family were "heartbroken" by his death.

Mr Hood, who lived in Felixstowe in Suffolk, died on Tuesday after contracting Covid-19.

'Quite a guy'

Ms Lindill said when she met him 23 years ago, he had already "led a huge life", having been a TV and radio presenter in Australia and New Zealand.

"He had interviewed everyone from Sylvester Stallone to Mick Jagger and he was quite a guy," she said.

After the pair moved to the UK, Mr Hood presented radio shows on the BBC, but his career change to become a PCSO was in keeping with his desire to help people, said Ms Lindill.

"He touched so many people's lives. He got to know people and he really loved the job," she said.

Neil Boast, who trained Mr Hood at Suffolk Police, said he was "privileged" to have known him, adding that tributes had been paid among colleagues at the force.

In 2016, Mr Hood described how he had been on the beach at Felixstowe when he saw a raft with four teenage girls drifting further out to sea.

After swimming out, the former triathlete pulled it more than 150m (160 yards) back to shore.

"They didn't realise they were out so far," he said at the time. "I had to tell them 'stop saying thank you, it's done. It's just part of the job'."

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