Harry Gration: BBC Look North team pay tribute to 'truly loved' former presenter

The BBC Look North team has paid tribute to former presenter Harry Gration, describing him as “a great broadcaster” who was “modest, generous and kind”.

The 71-year-old, who presented Look North between 1982 and 2020, died suddenly on Friday.

On last night’s programme, which was dedicated to him, his former co-presenter Amy Garcia said his death “comes as a terrible shock to us all”.

“Tonight, I know he’d be saying ‘get on with it lass, let’s have a glass of wine afterwards’,” she said.

Former Look North presenter Harry Gration died suddenly on Friday, at the age of 71

“Harry was synonymous with Look North, with this red sofa and with Yorkshire.

“Tonight, we’ll pay tribute to a journalist, a passionate sports supporter and a charity fundraiser.”

During the programme, Cathy Killick, who worked with him for almost 30 years, looked back over his career and praised him for covering a wide range of sport and news stories with “calm professionalism”.

“His great gift was to present the memorable and relatable wherever he was. He was brilliant with people, including all his co-hosts,” she said.

Former BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration died suddenly on Friday, at the age of 71

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“They all remember his ability to share and collaborate.

“You couldn’t watch Look North without realising Harry was fun to be around. He never minded making a fool of himself or getting stuck in.”

She added: “Never pompous or ego-centric, just modest, generous and kind, and with a huge respect for you, his viewers.

Harry Gration presented Look North between 1982 and 2020

“We are proud to have known Harry and we know many of you loved him too.”

Mr Gration’s former colleague Christa Ackroyd said he was the only person who could get away with calling her “old girl”.

She added: “He was what everyone has said: a great broadcaster, a professional, kind and generous, but above all, I’m proud to call him my friend and I will miss him dreadfully.”

BBC presenters Gabby Logan, Mark Chapman and Dan Walker also praised the beloved broadcaster, who offered them kind words and support when they were starting out.

“He had this presence both on and off screen, people just warmed to him,” said Mr Walker.

“He was a part of so many people’s lives. Truly loved and truly missed.”

Paul Elliot, who is better known for playing Paul Chuckle, described his old friend as a "wonderful guy" who was "always brilliant at his job".

England cricketer Jonny Bairstow said: “I was very fortunate to get to know Harry over a number of years, from the very start of my career to now, and what a fantastic man he is.”

Former Archbishop of York John Sentamu said Mr Gration was a “very strong” Christian who worked hard to help those in need through his charity work.

Mr Gration, who was born in Bradford, joined the BBC in 1978 after working as a history teacher, and joined Look North in 1982.

He left the show for a brief spell in the 1990s, to work on BBC South Today.

He covered nine Olympic Games for the BBC and won two Royal Television Society awards for his sports documentaries: White Rose In Africa in 1992 and Dickie Bird: A Rare Species in 1997. He also won the RTS Best Presenter award twice.

His work in broadcasting was recognised in 2013, when he was appointed MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Six years later he became a father again at the age of 68, when his wife, Helen Gration, gave birth to his sixth child.

Shortly after his death, Mrs Gration said: “He will be forever with us.

“Our three boys and I loved Harry totally. We had an awful lot of fun with him and our home was his life.”