BBC Wiltshire presenter Sandy Martin dies

BBC Wiltshire presenter Sandy Martin has died at the age of 53.

He was taken ill at the beginning of November and diagnosed with a brain tumour.

The popular presenter joined the BBC in 1998 and hosted a range of shows. He was well-known to people across the county.

BBC Wiltshire editor Tony Worgan said his death was a "great shock" to everyone and described Mr Martin as a "great support and loyal ally".

"Although we've known for a few months that Sandy has been seriously ill, it still comes as a great shock to everyone at BBC Wiltshire," he said.

"One thing people always noticed about Sandy was his infectious, never-ending enthusiasm. He made thinking positively into an art form.

'Lovely persona'

"I appointed Sandy as a member of the BBC Wiltshire management team 10 years ago and since then he has been a great support and loyal ally and I shall miss him very much."

Mr Martin began his radio career with a weekly "Disco Trekkin'" programme on commercial station GWR, while still a successful nightclub DJ at Swindon's Brunel Rooms.

He joined the BBC, based in Old Town, in 1998, hosting a wide range of shows, including the World Tour of Wiltshire and a series of fund-raising concerts featuring artists such as Jamie Cullum and Justin Hayward.

Sandy also produced special programmes featuring locally-based stars such as explorer David Hempleman-Adams and musician and singer Midge Ure.

Midge Ure said of Sandy: "There was just something about him, a charm, and when he'd ask you to do things there was no saying no. He had a lovely persona."

Most recently he had been BBC Wiltshire's "Man with a Van", out on the streets of the county gathering interviews with ordinary people which were broadcast as Your Stories from Your Place.

David Holdsworth, controller of BBC English Regions, said: "Sandy's wonderful human qualities meant that everyone wanted to talk to him and to tell him their stories.

"He made a huge contribution to the BBC and to local life in Wiltshire, and he will be sorely missed."

Sandy is survived by his wife Sarah, two-year-old twins and grown-up daughter from his previous marriage.

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