Tributes pour in for ‘much loved’ BBC Yorkshire legend, Harry Gration, who dies aged 71

Heartfelt tributes have poured in for former BBC Yorkshire presenter Harry Gration, who died at the age of 71 on Friday.

Saturday, 25th June 2022, 8:10 am
Updated Saturday, 25th June 2022, 8:11 am

The broadcaster became a Yorkshire institution after fronting the BBC's Look North programme between 1982 and 2020 in a career spanning more than 40 years.

Amy Garcia, Mr Gration's former co-host on Look North, held back her tears as she told viewers that he 'died suddenly' during an emotional statement at the end of Friday's live broadcast.

And the news of his passing has been met with widespread shock, with politicians, fellow television personalities and football clubs all expressing their condolences on social media.

Harry Gration at the DBH Stars Staff Awards. Picture: Andrew Roe

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Dan Walker, a former BBC presenter and Sheffield television celebrity, recounted the times he worked with Mr. Gration.

He said: "Harry would often call to talk and once, I'd been hammered in the press for something, he called with the kindest and most helpful words of encouragement.

"He cared. He was brilliant to work with, wonderful to watch and just a true gentleman. He will be missed by many."

South Yorkshire newly-elected mayor Oliver Coppard also expressed his condolences following the 'terribly sad news'.

File photo dated 19/12/13 of Harry Gration holding his MBE presented to him by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in London. The former BBC regional news presenter Harry Gration has died at the age of 71. The broadcaster became a Yorkshire institution after fronting the BBC's Look North programme between 1982 and 2020 in a career spanning more than 40 years. Issue date: Friday June 24, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story DEATH Gration. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire

"Harry Gration was one of our region's biggest and most loved personalities. He'll not just be deeply missed by colleagues, family and friends, but by the hundreds of thousands of us who grew up with him in our living rooms every evening. RIP."

Sheffield United FC said: "An incredibly well respected journalist and presenter. RIP, Harry Gration. Our thoughts and prayers are with Harry's family at this difficult time."

The Star editor, Nancy Fielder said: "One of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet and a true supporter of all things Sheffield.

"Rest in peace, Harry, and thanks for all you did for our city and country."

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‘Absolutely heartbroken.’

Announcing the news last night, BBC Yorkshire said they were ‘absolutely heartbroken’.

"Tonight our hearts go out to Harry’s wife Helen, their children and all of Harry’s friends and family.”

Born in Bradford, Gration 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.

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

He won the RTS Best Presenter award twice and was made an MBE for services to broadcasting in 2013.

Speaking after leaving the BBC in 2020, Gration said: "I've interviewed every prime minister since Margaret Thatcher, covered every major Look North story even at the expense of my holidays, and I wouldn't have changed a thing.

"I've always lived the story. Horrendous events such as the devastating news of Jo Cox's death, the disastrous floods of recent times, the Bradford riots, Hillsborough, have always affected me. They were always an assault on my county.

"Stand-out moments include raising over £800,000 on a tandem, pushing a sofa and being tied to Paul: three challenges my body will never forget."

In 2019, Gration became a father again at the age of 68, when his wife, Helen, gave birth to his sixth child in Sheffield.

He leaves behind wife, Helen, and six children.