Tears as pals pay trib­ute to Dianne

TV COL­LEAGUES RE­MEM­BER PRE­SEN­TER

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By DA­MON WILKIN­SON news­[email protected] @MENnews­desk

GOR­DON Burns fought back the tears as he paid trib­ute to his for­mer North West Tonight co-pre­sen­ter Dianne Oxberry.

The weather pre­sen­ter and re­porter died from can­cer in the Christie Hospi­tal on Thurs­day, aged 51.

In a spe­cial pro­gramme last night, Dianne’s North West Tonight col­leagues lined up to share their mem­o­ries of the mum-of-two, who was one of the most recog­nised faces on re­gional TV.

Burns, who was chief an­chor­man on NWT for 24 years up to 2011, re­turned to the sofa to lead the emo­tional trib­utes to his friend and col­league. He said: “The whole re­gion is so shocked, dev­as­tated and heart-bro­ken. I just can­not be­lieve it. “I used to say to her how she had such a huge fol­low­ing and she would sort of dis­miss it. “She was such an out­stand­ing broad­caster. She was bril­liant. When she looked down the cam­era she con­nected For­mer NWT an­chor­man Gor­don Burns with the peo­ple who were watch­ing.

“There has never been a bet­ter weather fore­caster than Dianne.

“She just con­nected with ev­ery­body. She had such grace and hu­mour, but she also didn’t take any pris­on­ers.

“This pro­gramme will never be quite the same again. All our thoughts and our love are with [Dianne’s hus­band] Ian and her chil­dren.

“I can­not bear the thought of what they are go­ing through. To­tally heart­bro­ken.”

Ear­lier in the show re­porter Stu­art Flin­ders in­tro­duced a mov­ing trib­ute to Dianne, who started her ca­reer at Ra­dio 1, where she worked along­side Steve Wright and Si­mon Mayo, by say­ing: “The weather was al­ways bright with Dianne Oxberry. She was at the heart of the North West Tonight fam­ily for nearly a quar­ter of a cen­tury.”

Footage and pic­tures of Dianne with Sir Paul Mc­Cart­ney, Take That and Peter Kay were also shown.

Si­mon Mayo said view­ers ‘felt as though they knew her,’ while BBC Five Live pre­sen­ter and for­mer NWT sports re­porter Tony Livesey told how he was ‘so proud’ to be her friend.

Dianne Oxberry

Gor­don Burns

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