George Alagiahs BBC co-stars gather to remember late newsreader at memorial

Sophie Raworth pays tribute to BBC colleague George Alagiah

Those who knew and loved George Alagiah celebrated his life at a memorial service held on Tuesday afternoon in London’s Trafalgar Square. The newsreader, who was at the helm of BBC News at Six for 15 years, died in July aged 67 following a battle with bowel cancer.

BBC World News journalist Jat Dhillon shared photographs from inside St Martin-in-the-Fields church as George’s loved ones, including Sky News presenter Mark Austin, took their place in the pews.

A photograph of the newsreader was displayed at the front of the church on a large screen. The poignant picture featured George with a big smile on his face as he sat in front of a bookshelf.

Jat also shared a photo of the order of service booklet which featured the same image of George and was handed out to attendees of the Service of Celebration. The service is understood to have featured moving tributes to George and music from the London African Gospel Choir.

Former BBC News editor Craig Oliver also took to social media to pay his respects to the late newsreader.

READ MORE: George Alagiah’s surprise royal connection to Princess Anne’s husband

He wrote on Tuesday morning: “George Alagiah’s life will be celebrated at a memorial service in London at noon. If you want to know why he was such a great man, you can listen to this conversation about his life on ⁦@DSWisdomPodcast.”

BBC News reporter Mark Lobel tweeted: “’He could see how the world looked from the p.o.v. of the Global South – and convey that perspective to the living rooms of the globally prosperous’ On the day of George Alagiah’s memorial, a wonderful reminder of his life by Allan Little.”

The Economist’s Senior Editor Fiammetta Rocco commented: “Magnificent tribute to ⁦@georgealagiah. ‘He had the heart of an artichoke; a little leaf for everyone’. Thank you ⁦@stmartins_music the London African Gospel Choir ⁦⁦@BBCWorld.”

Jonathan Charles added: “A wonderful memorial service for George Alagiah – a generous @BBC colleague, a generous in spirit human being. We all have so many stories of the good times that we spent in his company. His legacy lives on in us all.”

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While ITV star Alastair Stewart said: “@sophieraworth on BBCAlagiah in George’s own words. so powerful and so moving.” (sic)

Sophie and George had worked together for 20 years and she shared his final wish in an emotional tribute following his death in July.

She said that he had plans for a “final farewell” to viewers, but he unfortunately never got the chance to carry it out.

Sophie told viewers: “I saw him just a few weeks ago. He told me he had hoped to come back to work one last time to say thank you and goodbye, right here, live on air in the studio.

“He didn’t get the chance, so we have done it for him. I will leave you now with his own words.”

BBC showed a pre-recorded video of George reflecting on his life and journey with cancer. He said: “When I look back to my journey, where it all started, looked at the family I had, the opportunities my family had, the great good fortune to bump into Fran who’s been my wife and lover for all these years. The kids that we brought up, it didn’t feel like a failure.

“I wish I hadn’t had cancer, obviously. But I have cancer and I’m glad of the things I’ve learned about myself and about my community, my friends and my family as a result.

“I have gotten to a place to see life as a gift. Rather than kind of worrying about when it’s going to end and how it’s going to end, I’ve got to a place where I can see it for the gift it is. I feel that gift keenly every morning.”

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