Tributes paid to former BBC Radio 2 host
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Tributes paid to former BBC Radio 2 host

The former Radio 2 broadcaster Don Durbridge has died in Spain after a short illness. He was seventy three.

Don first broadcast to the nation in 1955 at the age of sixteen as co-host of the BBC Light Programme’s Younger Generation.

In 1974, he joined the Light Programme’s successor, BBC Radio 2, as a continuity announcer and newsreader and was also a regular cover presenter stepping into the shoes of Terry Wogan, Jimmy Young and Ed Stewart as well as hosting such iconic shows as Family Favourites, Friday Night is Music Night, Night Ride and Sport on 2.

He also worked for many years for the forces’ radio service, BFBS, including at the Munich Olympics in 1972 where he secured a worldwide scoop – an exclusive interview with the swimmer Mark Spitz, who’d won an, unprecedented at the time, seven gold medals at the Games.

Born in Glasgow in 1939 and raised in south London, Don’s adopted home was ‘the beautiful county of county of Kent’ as he called it. In 1984, he was part of the launch team for the county’s very first commercial radio station, Invicta Sound. In the late eighties and early nineties he worked for BBC Radio Kent as presenter of the nostalgia music show, Remember When, and was also the matchday announcer at Gillingham Football Club.

After a short time living and working in Malta, he returned to the UK in 1997 and found himself back amongst the golden oldies doing what he enjoyed most when he joined Saga’s new national digital service, Primetime Radio, where he hosted the late night show, ‘In Mellow Mood’.

When Primetime ceased broadcasting in 2006, Don emigrated to Spain. His final radio stop was with REM FM (now Talk Radio Europe) where he presented weekend shows with a mix of music, chat and celebrity guests as diverse as Max Bygraves and Ken Clarke.

He is survived by his first wife, Yvonne, who lives in Kent, and also leaves a daughter, Moira, and a grandson, Teddy, who live in Derbyshire.



0 4 18 26 June, 2012 People News June 26, 2012

4 comments

  1. Gavmcc

    What a sad loss, is the passing of Don.

    I had the privilege of working with him for six years at Primetime Radio. His warmth and professionalism was unmatched, and this applied both on and off the air.

    Although he was a Great from the old school, Don adapted instantly to MasterControl and voice-tracking. His on-air presence was a key commodity in generating huge audience loyalty for the station, and winning our two Sony Gold Awards for Station of The Year.

    During his time with us, Don faced the loss of his lovely wife Pauline, and serious personal injury as the result of a car crash. Both were huge challenges.

    He was a generous, funny, modest, highly talented man, who was blessed with a golden voice and a huge measure of natural charm.

    It was an honour to have you on our team Don, we’ll miss you.

    Gavin McCoy

    (Former)
    National Head Of Presentation
    PrimeTime Radio &
    Saga Digital Radio.

      

    Reply
  2. Brian

    I had the privilege of knowing Don Durbridge and family and spent many an hour at Don’s home and was a family friend from late 70’s through to late 80’s when he moved home, sadly we lost touch I would like to meet up with his family again, where ever they are, now. Don was a real gentleman and will be sadly missed.

    Brian Perry

    Reply
  3. Colin Farmer

    I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of my old friend Don Durbridge. I have lived away from the UK for nearly 50 years, but remember Don from our National Service days way back in the late 1950s. In civilian life we were both newspaper journalists in London and later went on to careers in broadcasting. We never met again and never worked together, but when I settled in Switzerland and Don in Spain we kept in contact. All-in-all It was a friendship which lasted more than half a century. I last spoke to Don by phone only a few months before his death. I knew he had been in poor health, but news of his death still came as a shock to me. Rest in Peace, Don

    Reply

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