Former BBC Radio Stoke stalwart Sam Plank has died following his second battle with cancer.
Sam, who spent more than 15 years at the station from the mid 1980s, later worked for Signal, Focal Radio and community station Moorlands Radio.
Before working in radio, he was in charge of the parks and recreations team at Stoke City Council and would often make appearances on BBC Radio Stoke under his real name of Terry Hilton to promote the work he was doing.
He joined the station to present Saturday mornings in 1984, before joining full time and leaving the council in 1988.
In 2001, he and wife Verity Hilton moved to Signal 2 before being part of the team behind digital station Focal Radio in 2008-9. Most recently he was to be heard on Moorlands Radio, and presented his last show on the station in December.
Sam overcame throat cancer in 2008 but was told secondary cancer had returned in September last year. He died at home last night (Thursday) with his wife and family caring for him.
Sam – who was 62 – leaves behind his wife Verity 44, children Andrew, Mark, Thomas, Sophie and Josh and grandchildren Ben and Aimee.
Verity told us: "I am so proud of the way Sam has had the courage to battle this illness, never moaning or complaining or asking 'why me?' – even though many of us around him asked that question. It has been a tribute to the man he is that so many people of all walks of life have called to see him or spoken to him over the past few days and weeks. Sam was passionate about the area he lived and the people in it, giving them every opportunity to be positive and giving them the ability to make things happen."
Sam received many awards including the Queen Mothers award for the media and a prestigious Sony award for local radio personality of the year. He was also presented with Chat magazines most favourite radio presenter thanks to the enormous amount of listeners who tuned into his mid morning show on BBC Radio Stoke. At the height of Radio Stoke’s listenership 1 in 3 people who tuned into a radio in the area listened to Sam Plank.
Former Radio Stoke colleague Kyle Evans, now at Real Radio North West, told RadioToday.co.uk that Sam was a great friend who had a heart of gold. "I’m often asked what the real Sam Plank was like and I say you already know him, that’s him it’s not an act," said Kyle. "He had a unique ability to really connect with his audience whether he was on stage in front of 50,000 people or on the radio. Everyone who came into contact with him, loved him; kids, families, pensioners, business people – all considered him a personal friend because of the way he was. His passion for the area was unrivalled and he always championed to make it an even better place."