BBC Bristol's 'inimitable' Roger Bennett dies at 69

By Caitlin Pike

Michael Buerk and Kate Adie were among many journalists, colleagues
and friends who attended the funeral of BBC Radio Bristol’s
long-serving presenter Roger Bennett this week.

Bennett, who died aged 69, had worked for the station since its inception in 1970.

In
his years presenting Morning West, Bennett received a number of awards
and became the longest-serving breakfast presenter on radio. In 1998,
he was honoured with a Sony Gold Achievement award for his dedication
to local radio.

On receiving the Sony award, he said: “To me,
local radio is an end in itself. I enjoy it as much now as I did when
we set up Radio Bristol in 1970. For me it’s better than ever.”

Bennett had always been at the heart of local news, following his father into journalism at the Bristol Evening Post.

He became the Post’s chief reporter, covering everything from the Aberfan tragedy to interviewing the Beatles.

After
17 years as a print journalist, he joined the BBC’s inaugural local
news team for Radio Bristol in 1970, working with Michael Buerk as
presenter of Morning West and Kate Adie reporting from the radio car.
In 1974 he became the main presenter, a position in which he remained
until he retired in 2003.

BBC Radio Bristol’s managing editor,
Jenny Lacey, said: “Roger was a superb journalist who was able to get
to the heart of any story, while still being unfailingly courteous to
all his interviewees.

“Roger could have gone on to great things,
but wanted to stay in his beloved Bristol. He knew the history of every
stone of the city and was passionate about the local community.
Whenever anyone wanted to know anything about the locality, it was
always Roger they turned to. He was truly inimitable.”

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