David Coleman's life celebrated by family and friends

'The Quite Remarkable David Coleman'

The life of David Coleman, one of the BBC's best loved sports broadcasters, was celebrated at a memorial service in central London on Wednesday.

Family, friends and close colleagues gathered at New Broadcasting House to remember Coleman, who died in December after a short illness, aged 87.

He first appeared on air for the BBC in 1954 and went on to cover 11 Olympic Games and six World Cups.

Director of Sport Barbara Slater said he epitomised the best about the BBC.

David Coleman: The face of BBC Sport

"If we close our eyes, if we think of so many of the great sporting moments throughout the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s it's David's voice we hear," she said at the service, held at the BBC Radio Theatre.

"Those amazing and iconic moments from World Cups, FA Cups, the Olympics, the Commonwealths. He had an amazing ability to make you feel you were with him in the stadium."

Coleman presented some of the BBC's leading sporting programmes, including Grandstand and Sportsnight, and was the host of Question of Sport for 18 years.

He was awarded an OBE in 1992 and retired from the BBC in 2000. Later that year he became the first broadcaster to receive the Olympic Order award in recognition of his contribution to the Olympic movement.

Fellow commentator Brendan Foster said Coleman was the "greatest sports broadcaster that ever lived".

Coleman's life will also be celebrated in a special documentary which will paint an intimate picture of the man behind the microphone. 'The Quite Remarkable David Coleman' will be broadcast on BBC One on Wednesday, 21 May, 22:35 BST