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Broadcasters pay tribute to 'amazing' BBC journalist and weather presenter Dianne Oxberry after her death at 51

Tributes have been paid to BBC journalist and weather presenter Dianne Oxberry following her death aged 51, just weeks after she was last on air.

The mother-of-two, who had been suffering from cancer, died at Manchester’s Christie Hospital yesterday.

The BBC said Oxberry died after a “short illness” and said the “very sad news has come as a huge shock to everyone at the BBC in the North West”.

Broadcasters Dan Walker, Simon Mayo and Jane Garvey were among those who paid tribute to the “amazing” Oxberry.

She worked alongside Mayo and Steve Wright on Radio 1 before moving to North West Tonight in 1994.

A clip of BBC North West’s “favourite moments” of the presenter shows Oxberry getting a hug from comic Peter Kay after he interrupts her broadcast and tells her: “You’ve made it sunshine, for everybody.”

She remained with North West Tonight until her death and was last on-air in mid-December.

Oxberry’s husband, Ian Hindle, said she was an “amazing wife and mother who embraced life to the full”.

“She was an inspiration to all who knew and loved her but also to the people who watched and welcomed her into their homes each night as if she were part of their family too.”

He said: “She will leave a massive void in our lives but, because of the remarkable person she was, she will forever live on in our hearts. The children and I will miss her more than anyone can imagine.”

BBC Breakfast host Walker wrote on Twitter: “This is incredibly sad. What an amazing woman Dianne was and such a professional broadcaster. Devastating news for her family. Heartbreaking.”

He added: “What a special person Dianne Oxberry was. I was privileged enough to work with her on BBC North West and she was as loved and admired in the office as she was by the viewers.

“Whenever you were on location everyone would tell you how much they enjoyed watching Dianne. Such sad news.”

Woman’s Hour host Garvey wrote: “Dianne was a formidable voice for women at the BBC, a fantastically supportive colleague. Thank you for speaking up #BBCWomen.”

Mayo wrote: “Devastated to hear this news. She was a wonderful, joyous part of our breakfast team at Radio 1. I loved working with her. My condolences to her family.”

Oxberry, who lived in Greater Manchester, also fronted regional current affairs show Inside Out North West.

The Sunderland-born broadcaster joined North West Tonight after studying at the Met Office College.

She also presented programmes on BBC Radio Manchester, including the Breakfast Show.

North West Tonight presenter Roger Johnson said: “We are heartbroken by Dianne’s death. It is almost impossible to comprehend. Dianne was North West Tonight. It’s hard to imagine the programme without her.

“Our thoughts are with Ian and all of Dianne’s family. We hope they will find some comfort in the knowledge so many people loved Dianne and will miss her terribly.”

Annabel Tiffin, another presenter of the programme, said: “This is an enormous shock for all of us. I can scarcely believe Dianne has died. She was loved by our viewers, by all of us at North West Tonight. My heart breaks for her family.

“Di was so talented, so beautiful, so funny and so full of life. On screen she was a star, radiating warmth and good humour. Off screen, she was a wonderful colleague, a loyal friend, and I will miss her terribly.”

Oxberry’s weather presenting colleague Simon King paid an emotional tribute on 5 Live this morning.

“It’s devastating, absolutely devastating. It’s been such a quick process, this whole thing,” he told the station’s breakfast show.

“It’s hit us like a ton of bricks, it really has. “

Presenter Rachel Burden asked him: “Are you OK to do the weather?”

“Yes,” he replied, his voice breaking, before saying: “So, excuse me,” and going on to regain his composure and present the forecast.

Co-host Nicky Campbell told him afterwards: “You did her proud Si.”

Burden said she got to know Oxberry in the last couple of years “as part of the BBC Women’s Network and she was an incredible support and a great champion for her female colleagues here at the BBC”.

“I can’t tell you the impact she made in talking to other people and supporting them in their own personal journeys,” she said.

“She was a really loyal and very generous colleague to people here.”

Campbell described Oxberry as a “wonderful person, sweet and warm woman”.

He added: “She kept it real. She was so genuine on the air. There was no affectation at all.”

Helen Thomas, director of BBC England, said Oxberry had a “remarkable career” and added: “She was a brilliant weather presenter, showed she could do serious journalism with Inside Out and could do the lighter end of broadcasting brilliantly whenever it was needed.

“Above all she was a lovely woman whose sudden and shocking death has robbed the BBC of one of our brightest stars. I’m thinking of all her family and friends at this awful time.”

A book of condolences for staff and visitors has been opened at the BBC’s Quay House reception at Media City in Salford.

Picture: BBC/PA Wire

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