Obituary: Harry Gration (1950–2022)

Obituary: Harry Gration (1950–2022)

Wednesday, 6th July 2022
(credit: BBC)
(credit: BBC)
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Regional news presenter Harry Gration MBE has died suddenly at the age of 71.

The former BBC Look North host won no fewer than five RTS awards during a long broadcasting career. 

BBC Director-General Tim Davie said: “He had a real connection with the public, who saw him as one of their own. Loved everywhere, but especially in Yorkshire, he will be hugely missed by his many fans and friends.” 

Harry was named Regional Presenter of the Year at the RTS Television Journalism Awards in 2015 and again in 2017. On winning for the second time, he told the RTS: “I never really envisaged that I’d end up presenting a television programme as I do every night. It happened as a dream and it has turned into a reality.” 

When Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox was murdered shortly before the EU referendum in June 2016, Harry was one of the first journalists on the scene. “That was the biggest story I’ve ever covered,” he told the RTS.  

News was only part of Harry’s life. He was well known to national BBC audiences for presenting Final Score on Saturdays and Sunday Grandstand, as well as covering judo and taekwondo at the Olympics. In the same RTS interview, Harry said: “I love this business. I’ve been to nine Olympic Games. I’ve been all around the world to cover BBC sport.” 

Harry also won RTS awards for two cricket documentaries, in 1992 (White Rose in Africa) and 1997 (Dickie Bird: A Rare Species). 

In 2015, Harry received a Lifetime Achievement award at the RTS Yorkshire Awards. 

The current RTS Yorkshire Chair, Lisa Holdsworth, said: “Harry always struck the right note, whether reporting tragedy or triumph. And his love for Yorkshire was clear from the enthusiasm and professionalism he showed over his many years at Look North. And that love was reciprocated by the people of Yorkshire, as can be seen from the tributes pouring in from across the county. He will be so missed.” 

Yorkshire born and educated, Harry trained as a teacher and taught history at Rodillian school on the outskirts of Wakefield. 

He had already started to work in radio, commentating on Rugby League for BBC Radio Leeds. He first took up the mic for a Batley vs York match in 1971, before giving up teaching in 1978 to work for the radio station. 

In two spells, spanning almost four decades, from 1982 to 1994 and 1999 to 2020, Harry presented Look North.  

He briefly left the BBC, taking on a PR role for the Rugby Football League, but the break was short-lived, with Harry returning to host BBC South Today from Southampton in 1995 and then moving back to Look North. He left the BBC in October 2020, the day before his 70th birthday. 

Harry was busy outside the TV studio. In 2016, tied to Look North colleague Paul Hudson, he took on a nine-day, 195km, three-legged walk across Yorkshire, raising more than £190,000 for Sport Relief. 

In 2013, he became an MBE in recognition for his work in broadcasting.