Veteran BBC broadcaster David Parry-Jones dies aged 83

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David Parry-Jones
Image caption,
"One of the very best in the business"

Veteran broadcaster David Parry-Jones has died aged 83.

The former BBC Wales Today presenter and rugby analyst for BBC Radio 5 Live died at a hospice in Penarth on Monday.

Mr Parry-Jones was born in Pontypridd and lived in Cardiff with his long term partner, BBC Radio Cymru presenter Beti George.

He was known as "the voice of Welsh rugby" and commentated on historic sporting occasions such as Llanelli's famous win over the All Blacks in 1972.

He also authored numerous books on the game.

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Mr Parry-Jones was known as "the voice of Welsh rugby"

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2009 and was cared for at his home by Ms George.

They filmed a documentary for the BBC earlier this year to raise awareness of the condition.

Ms George described him as a kind, gentle and handsome man "whose life was words".

She said Mr Parry-Jones had great pride in being educated at Merton College in Oxford. He began his career as a journalist with The Times before joining the BBC to work in television.

His lifelong and college friend Tony Marland said he was a good sportsman and captain of their cricket team.

"He was popular because he could make people laugh," Mr Marland said.

"If you knew he was on the agenda of the debating society you would turn up and listen."

Image caption,
David Parry-Jones recording outside BBC Wales in 1967

Rhodri Talfan Davies, BBC Cymru Wales director, described Mr Parry-Jones as a "consummate broadcaster" who was admired and respected in Wales and far beyond.

"His authority and charm made him a natural presenter for BBC Wales Today. And in the commentary box, he quickly became the voice of Welsh rugby - one of the very best in the business," he said.

"More latterly, his public battle with dementia - and the remarkable care of his partner, Beti George - has helped millions of people to better understand the challenges of living with Alzheimer's, prompting a public debate about dementia care.

"Our thoughts today are of course with Beti and David's family."

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Sir Gareth Edwards pays tribute to David Parry-Jones

Welsh Rugby Union chairman Gareth Davies said Mr Parry-Jones would be "sadly missed".

"David Parry-Jones was a great servant to the game, he was hugely popular throughout Welsh rugby, a knowledgeable broadcaster with a warm personality who immediately commanded the respect of anyone he came into contact with," he said.

"On a personal note he was a great source of advice for me when considering going up to Oxford University as a post graduate student and someone who always had a kind word when I would meet him as a commentator during my playing days."

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David Parry-Jones commentating on Llanelli's famous win over New Zealand at Stradey Park

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Brian J Ford, David Bevan and David Parry Jones working on Week in Week out in 1965