Remembering Harry Gration: One year on from the legendary Yorkshire TV Presenter’s death

It feels like yesterday that the news broke of Harry Gration’s death but it also has been a long year for his friends, family and fans who have been keeping his memory alive while mourning for the star who changed so many people’s lives.

“Harry would be somewhere watching cricket in weather like this.

“No doubt he’ll be somewhere watching the ashes in Headingley in the coming weeks,” said colleague and friend Christine Talbot, the former ITV Calendar presenter.

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She added that it’s hard to believe that someone who was such a life force, such a massive personality who was a massive part of all our lives in the Yorkshire region is no longer with us.

Christine Talbot and Harry Gration during his final public showChristine Talbot and Harry Gration during his final public show
Christine Talbot and Harry Gration during his final public show

“And even harder to believe he passed away a year ago and the shock that we all felt.”

Christine alongside other TV personalities such as former BBC Look North presenter Christa Ackroyd have been remembering Harry since June 24 2022 when he died, leaving behind his wife Helen Gration and children.

She said she has been reliving Harry’s last few weeks over recent days and remembering his charity show they were set to host.

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Christine said that he signed off the last text to her the day before he died saying “love you.”

She added: “That was Harry, he loved everyone.

“My thoughts are with his widow Helen and his boys. Harry, we miss you so much.”

We take a look back at the last year where people across the region and ourselves at The Yorkshire Post have been remembering the late and great Harry Gration.

In March 2022, The Yorkshire Post editor James Mitchinson penned a tribute to Harry.

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He said: “Yorkshire will forever be a better place for his contribution.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the BBC's Look North stalwart Harry Gration is as synonymous with the county of Yorkshire as tea itself.

“Awarded the MBE for his tireless and selfless commitment to the county, Harry truly was one of us, and one of the good guys.”

After the whole of Yorkshire attempted to recover from the shock of Harry’s death, it was time for his funeral which was held at York Minster on Yorkshire Day.

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On August 1 2022 people congregated in York to pay their respects as Helen Gration alongside sons Harvey and Harrison said an emotional farewell.

With a “croaky voice and puffy eyes,” TV presenter Christine, described Harry shortly after the funeral service, as “a Yorkshire legend” and she said that the service “totally” reflected that.

“It has been a very emotional day but it’s been wonderful.

“A dear friend not just to me but a friend to all of us who have watched him on our screens for over 40 years,” She said it was a special day, remembering all aspects of his life with co-stars Amy Garcia and Keeley Donovan leading tributes

Christine said his son Harrison, who is a“talented” singer, sang at the funeral and she knows how “proud” that would have made Harry.

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Harry joined the BBC in 1978 after working as a history teacher, and joined Look North in 1982, although he left for a spell working on BBC South Today in the 1990s.

Harry, alongside his Look North counterpart Christa Ackroyd who also grew up in Bradford, was given an honorary degree at Bradford University.

In a tribute Christa said: “We both smiled at each other. Two Bradford kids from ordinary backgrounds being given honorary degrees. He was so proud to represent Yorkshire. What a man he was.

“He wasn’t a professional Yorkshireman, he was a proud Yorkshireman.”

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One month after the funeral in September 2022, Helen Gration shared a photo of the couple’s grieving dog looking on at one of their son’s bags which had been packed ready to return to university life.

The return to university marked the end of a tough summer for the Gration family, who had said their final farewell to Harry, who died in June aged 71.

Alongside the photo, Helen posted on Facebook: “And so it starts again. First twin repacking for university life… heck, we’re going to need your help @mrharrygration my love today. This is going to be a particularly tough one. Helen and the boys x #university #student #love.”

Messages of support and love flooded in for Helen who has two twins Harrison and Harvey as well as Hamilton with Harry.

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He also has Hannah, his daughter from his first marriage, and Frederick and Samuel, sons from his second marriage.

Harrison who studies at the Royal Academy of Music and sang at his father’s funeral then in March 2023 performed another tribute.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as Harrison took to the stage to accept Harry’s posthumous lifetime achievement award at the Yorkshire Awards of which Harry had been vice president of the Yorkshire Society who hosted the awards.

Helen said at the awards hosted by Christine Talbot and Duncan Wood that “it's probably not been quite long enough since that awful day last June to put ourselves back together to say thank you to the society and all those wonderful messages that we got from the minute it was announced which was stunning.

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“In some ways it helped our two boys to start to understand the impact their dad had.”

Harrison, 19, who is a talented baritone singer at the Royal Academy of Music, sang the very first song he performed to his Dad, Stars from Les Miserables.

The youngster was given a standing ovation as friends of the family and hosts Christine and Duncan struggled to hold back tears.

In April 2023 judging for the Harry Gration History Prize in Yorkshire began which had been launched in Harry’s memory to encourage budding historians of all ages to write an essay on a historical topic in Yorkshire. The Harry Gration History Prize reflects the BBC Look North broadcasting legend's love of local stories and Yorkshire's past.

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Shortly after is was reported in the Yorkshire Post how Harry and Helen Gration’s IVF story had helped a Yorkshire couple to finally have their miracle baby after a 20 year battle.

Prior to his death Harry had shared his advice for successful IVF treatment which guided the Yorkshire couple in the right direction to conceiving as Harry and Helen successfully conceived a baby via IVF while he was 68 with his wife Helen aged 51.

The couple said: “The IVF journey is not only expensive, but it is exhausting, isolating and at times soul destroying.

Harry and Helen gave us hope. We were tired but didn’t want to give up.”