Your Harry Gration stories and tributes after former BBC Look North presenter dies aged 71

News of the sudden death of the Yorkshire broadcast veteran and former BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration has prompted an outpouring of tributes from the public.

By Georgina Morris
Saturday, 25th June 2022, 4:30 pm

Hundreds of Yorkshire Evening Post readers have left messages of condolence on our Facebook page, with many including personal accounts of meeting the much-loved journalist.

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The 71-year-old's death was announced at the end of Friday night's edition of the show which he hosted until his retirement in 2020.

Leaving a message of condolence, Anne and Paul Tetley said: "This is a very sad weekend. We have lost a true Yorkshire gentleman, a stalwart of journalism and broadcasting. Nobody can ever replace your wit and humour and all the charity work you took part in. Gone but you will never be forgotten. RIP Harry top man. Our condolences to his family.

Michael James McAndrew said: "I can't believe this, such sad news. A lovely genuine man, a brilliant presenter, loved by so many. My condolences to all his family and friends. Good night and God bless Harry."

Craig Jessop said: "So very sad, he was a genuinely great presenter, he was Mr Yorkshire as many have said."

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 Gration arriving for his last day at Look North back in 2020.

He was also known for his charity work, including a 124-mile three-legged challenge for Sports Relief with colleague Paul Hudson.

A number of those posting messages on the YEP's Facebook page highlighted his charitable work.

Rhona Graham said: "Really sad news. Great presenter, amazing charity fundraiser - and such a great sport in Berwick Kaler's York pantomimes."

Wendy Holt said: "Such a great guy and a brilliant news reader and not forgetting the challenges he did for charity events."

Janet Sykes said: "So sad, a lovely man and a great broadcaster and presenter and he did so much charity work. He will be sadly missed. RIP Harry."

Michelle Harrison said: "So sorry to hear this news, always liked Harry, he did some wonderful things. RIP, you're our Yorkshire hero. Condolences to his family."

The Bradford-born news anchor fronted Look North for more than 38 years and won the RTS Best Presenter award twice. He was made an MBE for services to broadcasting in 2013.

He also 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.

Reader Iain Plenderleith was among those who praised Harry's contribution to sport in the region, saying: "Sad, sad news... Harry championed Yorkshire sport for all his career, especially for the BBC."

Martin Simmonds said: "RIP Harry. You did a lot for the game of rugby league and Yorkshire cricket."

Phil Storey said: "A legend of BBC news and sport in our region. RIP Harry."

Many more readers shared their own stories of meeting Harry over the years.

Helen Pawelec said: "I balled my eyes out after Look North last night. I met him a few times working for the Yorkshire Post. He was such a lovely man and very genuine."

Steven Stanworth said: "A really nice fella, always time for a chat. Last saw him at York city on a visit with Bradford Park Avenue."

Margaret and Dave Leary: "Such a genuine down to earth man. He was once in the same restaurant, as we were celebrating my father’s retirement. He took the time to come across and say some lovely words. So sad for his wife and very young children."

Sue Lumsdon said: "A true gent when I had the pleasure of meeting him at The Great Yorkshire Show. RIP Harry."

Heather Shakeshaft said: "Spent very many moments on the phone talking and laughing with him in my insurance broking days. He wrote me the loveliest note and it holds a special place in my heart. Kindest, funniest, gentlest man."

David Shaw said: "Only was with him last Friday in Harrogate at a charity event. So sad. We chatted, appeared fine in good spirits and raised £4,000 for Ukraine. A sad loss.

Steve Baggers Bagnall said: "Such a lovely man, very knowledgeable on all sports, never saw him without a smile on his face, hardly ever missed a match at the Scarborough Cricket Festival, he will be missed by so many. RIP old lad."

Mike Tomlinson said: "He taught us at Rodillian before going on telly full time. Really nice bloke. Sad sad news."

Martin Hill said: "That is a real shock. Always seemed like a great guy and he used to come into our restaurant, The Gresham Restaurant in Harrogate."

And many more who had never met him said his many years on the region's screens had left them feeling as if he was part of their own lives.

Lorraine Ellis said: "Oh so sad he was Look North. Nice man. Knew I was back in Yorkshire when I heard his voice on the TV. RIP Harry."

Mark Crossland said: "He was a man that you felt you knew even if you’d never met him. Very sad news indeed."

Debbie White said: "RIP Harry, you were loved by thousands."

Laurie Fryer said: "So very sad. Condolences to his family, children and friends and all who knew him. He felt like part of the family on our TV every evening!"

Amanda Sweeting said: "Oh that is sad news. Love to all his family. He was a part of so many peoples daily family life. We all feel his loss."

Graham Brook said: "RIP. End of an era. Proper Yorkshire man who cared about our region."

Graham Linley said: "What a sad loss. He was one of the best. A true Yorkshireman through and through."

Others spoke of their sadness that Harry had been able to enjoy so little of his retirement before his untimely death.

They also shared condolences to Harry's family, including his wife Helen and his six children - the youngest of which was born in 2019.

Eric Scaife said: "So sorry to hear such sad news. A true Yorkshire Tyke. Such a pity he did not enjoy the years of retirement he deserved. Condolences to his family from myself and the Yorkshire dialect society."

Anne Watkinson said: "So sad especially as he has just stopped working and had intended to have time with his family. RIP."

Jo Clement said: "Such sad news. Even more sad that he didn't get time to enjoy his retirement."

Martyn Brown said: "RIP Harry, Yorkshire’s finest. Sending lots of love to his family."

Barbara A Dudley said: "What a shock. Deep condolences to his family, friends and former colleagues. He always seemed a thoroughly nice man."

Linda Strong said: "So sorry to hear this, he was one of the best and so proud of becoming a father again. I send my condolences to his wife and family. He will not be forgotten. One of the best."

Harry's colleagues were also in their thoughts, particularly Look North presenter Amy Garcia who had the very difficult task of breaking the news to viewers.

Maureen Wilce said: "Such sad news, RIP, Harry, true Yorkshire legend. Sincere condolences to all his family and friends, especially poor Amy who could hardly make the announcement."

Tim Huntington said: "How sad to have to hear Amy Garcia trying to hold back her tears tonight at the end of Look North live, having to announce one of her best pals and colleague had suddenly passed away. Rip Harry, you've been in our living rooms a very long time and will be sadly missed."

Derek Armstead said: "Amy Garcia what a news item to have to present. Your interview with the Labour winner was very impartial but you put him under pressure regarding the strikes. Your tears for Harry well show your respect for a colleague with who you shared so much."