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Former This Morning presenter Stephen Rhodes dies from motor neurone disease

Stephen Rhodes
Image caption Stephen Rhodes' CV included working on Family Fortunes, This Morning and at the BBC

A former broadcaster best known for deputising for Richard and Judy on This Morning has died from motor neurone disease.

Stephen Rhodes, who was also the voice of Family Fortunes for 14 years, died aged 66 on Monday.

The former BBC broadcaster, who worked at Three Counties Radio on the consumer and breakfast programmes, has been described as "a genius".

He was diagnosed with the disease in 2014.

As well as presenting This Morning as relief presenter for Richard Madeley from 1994 to 1997, Mr Rhodes was also the host of Central Weekend.

He worked on Family Fortunes from 1987 until 1999.

Mr Rhodes joined BBC Three Counties Radio in 1995 before leaving in 2010 to stand as an independent candidate in the Luton South seat in the General Election.

He also presented The Politics Show on BBC East for four years.

Image caption Current BBC Three Counties consumer presenter Jonathan Vernon-Smith (right) called Stephen Rhodes 'a radio genius'

BBC Three Counties editor Laura Moss said: "MND is a cruel disease.

"He faced it head on and campaigned tirelessly on behalf of the charity, fighting for better services and treatment."

Friend and Three Counties colleague Jonathan Vernon-Smith, who now presents the consumer show, called Mr Rhodes "a radio genius".

'Great broadcaster'

He said: "They always say you should choose your role models carefully and I'm very thankful that Stephen Rhodes was mine."

He added Mr Rhodes "had the ability to make the audience laugh and cry" and was "a kind, caring and hugely entertaining man".

Another former colleague, Jane Prendergast, called Mr Rhodes "a joy" and "a great broadcaster".

In his last interview with Three Counties in August 2015, Mr Rhodes said he was trying to raise awareness of MND.

"Anybody can get this," he said. "There's no explanation as to how it comes around."

Mr Rhodes leaves behind wife Greggy and four children.

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