Harry Gration: Tributes pour in for 'a Yorkshire legend and a true gentleman'

Tributes have been pouring in for much-loved BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration, who died suddenly on Friday, June 24, aged 71.

By Dominic Brown
Monday, 27th June 2022, 10:00 am

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.

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.

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

BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration brought the Look North cameras to Dewsbury to celebrate the 90th birthday of Eileen Fenton

Following the sad news of his death, Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater said she was "heartbroken".

In a message on Twitter, she said: "Heartbreaking news about the wonderful Harry Gration. A Yorkshire legend and a true gentleman.

"A huge loss to so many, but none more so than his wife Helen and their beautiful family.

"I will never forget his kindness and compassion. Thank you for everything Harry x."

Paul Ellis, President of Dewsbury Chamber of Trade, also paid tribute to Harry, reflecting on the time he brought the Look North cameras to Dewsbury to celebrate the 90th birthday of Eileen Fenton, the first woman to complete the Cross Channel Swimming Race in 1950 and who went on to train scores of first-class long distance and sprint swimmers.

Paul said: "Harry was a great journalist with vast experience and great integrity.

"It says everything that apart from attending Eileen's 90th birthday in Dewsbury as her friend, he thought he would bring the Look North cameras to give the town a positive good news story too.

"I spoke to him at length and it saddened him that Dewsbury always seemed to get a lot of negative media from many who had never been there.

"He always found Dewsbury people very welcoming with a great sense of humour.

"How right he was."

Calderdale resident Christa Ackroyd, who worked with Harry for 13 years and knew him for 30, said: “We met on my birthday recently and were supposed to meet up for lunch this week.

“Although he was my work colleague he was above all my friend. We shared many happy times together.

“He did so many things but the thing he was most proud of was bringing news to Yorkshire people. He wasn’t a professional Yorkshireman, he was a proud Yorkshireman.

“I remember when we both got honorary degrees at Bradford University, 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.”