Tributes have been paid to Granada TV stalwart Tony Morris who has died aged 57.
Morris, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer last year, passed away at Bury Hospice with his daughters, Natalie and Rebecca, at his side on Saturday.
As well as the 17 years he spent at Granada Reports, Morris had previously worked for BBC North West Tonight, presented the regional bulletins for BBC News at Ten, co-hosted The Really Useful Show, and hosted BBC Two’s late-night comedy show Blouse and Shirt – which helped elevate black comedians, including Gina Yashere and Felix Dexter.
One of the highlights of Morris’ exceptional career, was how he helped Grenada Reports become the first regional programme to win a BAFTA after his coverage on the Morecambe Bay Cockle Picking tragedy.
The Granada team would go on to win a second BAFTA for their coverage of the independent panel into the Hillsborough Disaster.
Prior to becoming a journalist, Morris worked as a DJ and served in the RAF, growing up in Portsmouth and spending much of his childhood in foster care.
His daughter, Natalie Morris, took to Twitter in the aftermath of his death.
She said: “We lost our incredible dad on Saturday morning.
“He was more than a parent, he was also our best friend. We are utterly heartbroken but so grateful for the time we had with him.
We lost our incredible dad on Saturday morning. He was more than a parent, he was also our best friend. We are utterly heartbroken, but so grateful for the time we had with him
We will be offline with family for a while, but so appreciative of the lovely messages
Nat & Becky x pic.twitter.com/ZH3u1HXAMe
— Natalie Morris (@Nmozz) August 3, 2020
Lucy Meacock, Morris’ Granda Reports co-anchor, also took to Twitter with an emotional message.
“It is with a broken heart I retweet this. We will have a very special @GranadaReports tonight in tribute to our lovely friend and colleague.
“My thoughts are with his family and all who loved him x”.
Meacock broke down during her tribute to Morris on tonight’s show.
Michael Jermey, Director of News and Current Affairs at ITV, described his death as a ‘great loss to news broadcasting’.
He said: “Tony was a great presenter with an instinctive understanding of what would interest his audience.
“He will be missed enormously by everyone who so enjoyed working with him and by viewers who appreciated his warmth, his incisive questioning and his dry sense of humour.
“Tony’s death is a great loss to news broadcasting.”
The ITV Granada Report’s tribute included a poem called “Clock Off” by musician and poet David Scott aka Arghkid, written for Morris.
Other stars also paid tribute to Morris.
Singer Damon Gough, better known as Badly Drawn Boy, said Morris was ‘an absolute gentleman’ while former BBC presenter Phil Williams described him as an ‘effortlessly brilliant broadcaster’.
He said: “I first met Tony in 1994/95 at the BBC. His exuberance knew no bounds.
“He was so talented, funny, patient with this young student. An effortlessly brilliant broadcaster. A warm effusive man I always looked up to. I’m sad he’s left us. I’ll remember the Morris smile.”
Outside of journalism, Morris worked with charities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, including the Anthony Walker Foundation – set up after his murder in 2005.
Walker’s mum, Gee Walker, said Morris’ smile “lit up the screen” in an interview with ITV.
Tony Morris was involved with several organisations working with young people, among them the @awf_liverpool. Anthony Walker’s mum Gee said today that Tony’s “magnetic smile lit up the screen” https://t.co/Zw8Tqbxgqf pic.twitter.com/El2lbW80U8
— ITV Granada Reports (@GranadaReports) August 3, 2020
Morris leaves behind his two daughters, Natalie and Rebecca.