Ali Brownlee: Cancer diagnosis support for presenter

Ali Brownlee
Image caption Middlesbrough-born Ali Brownlee worked in a bank before the BBC hired him in 1982 to report on "the Boro"

Hundreds of radio listeners and football fans have sent messages of support to a BBC local radio presenter after learning he has cancer.

Ali Brownlee, who presents BBC Tees' breakfast show and commentates on Middlesbrough FC, said the battle ahead seemed "almost overwhelming".

His diagnosis of lower bowel cancer was announced on his show in his absence.

Tweets and Facebook comments hoped for a speedy recovery and some said the "whole of Teesside" wished him well.

In a statement Brownlee said he was "incredibly lucky to have a wonderful family, great friends and colleagues".

Image copyright Facebook and Twitter

"If anyone can get me back to doing the job I love most, working for BBC Tees, it is the outstanding hospital on my doorstep," he said.

"I am aware that I have to put all my efforts now into the fight I have ahead but my inspiration will always be the hope to be back behind the mic yelling on The Boro and being with the best breakfast team on local radio."

Middlesbrough Football Club said the "thoughts and prayers of everyone" at the club were with the "commentating legend".

BBC Tees managing editor Dan Thorpe said the presenter had the station's "sincere best wishes".

"We all love working with Ali as much as our audience enjoy listening to him, and we know he'll be very well supported during this difficult time," he said.

Fellow presenter Lisa McCormick said her colleague's "enthusiasm for life" was infectious and his "relentless energy" was missed in the newsroom.

Brownlee is due to start treatment shortly.

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