Staffordshire radio host Sam Plank dies

image captionSam Plank hosted the mid-morning weekday show on BBC Radio Stoke from 1988

A well-known voice on Staffordshire radio stations over three decades, Sam Plank, has died.

The host, who was 62 and had programmes on BBC Radio Stoke for 17 years, had been battling cancer.

The presenter received many awards, including the Queen Mother's award for the media and a Sony for local radio personality of the year.

He was given the Freedom of the City of Stoke-on-Trent and raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities.

Charity involvement

The presenter overcame throat cancer in 2008 but was told secondary cancer had returned in September last year. He died at home on Thursday evening.

His family said he started to present the Saturday morning show on BBC Radio Stoke when Bruno Brookes left to go to BBC Radio 1.

In 1988, the host, whose real name was Terry Hilton, gave up his work at the city council at the age of 40 to take over the mid-morning weekday show on BBC Radio Stoke.

The presenter was asked to join Staffordshire and Cheshire radio station Signal 2 in 2001, along with his second wife, Verity Hilton, who worked with him for the majority of his time in radio.

He later worked at Focal Radio, a digital station in Burslem, and Moorlands Radio 103.7FM in Leek, a not-for-profit organisation, where he presented his last show in mid-December.

He was heavily involved with the Lions Club and Rotary.

Family's pride

His wife said: "I am so proud of the way Sam has had the courage to battle this illness, never moaning or complaining or asking 'why me?' - even though many of us around him asked that question.

"It has been a tribute to the man he is that so many people of all walks of life have called to see him or spoken to him over the past few days and weeks."

Friend and BBC Radio Stoke presenter Terry Walsh said: "Every Lord Mayor it was almost like their first appointment - once they were appointed Lord Mayor, their first appointment was to come and appear on the Sam Plank show.

"He influenced a lot of people in the area and made a lot of people happy."

Mr Plank leaves his wife Verity, 44, children Andrew, Mark, Thomas, Sophie and Josh and grandchildren Ben and Aimee.

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