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Local journalist dies after falling ill on motorway

Steve BeckerTributes have been paid to a well-known local radio journalist who died after falling ill while driving along a motorway.

Steve Becker, pictured left, a senior broadcast journalist with BBC Radio Lancashire, died suddenly yesterday morning after being taken ill on the M6 near Preston.

Steve, who was 56 and lived in Chorley, was on his way to Blackpool to cover a fracking hearing for the radio station.

Three lanes of the northbound carriageway had to be shut while police and paramedics dealt with what was described at the time as a “medical” incident, which caused tailbacks on both the M6 and the M61. No other vehicles were involved.

Nicola Adam, editor of several Johnston Press weeklies in Lancashire and deputy editor of the Lancashire Evening Post, was among those caught up in the congestion.

She later tweeted: “Absolutely tragic news, many condolences to Steve’s family and colleagues.”

LEP editor Gillian Parkinson posted on the social networking site that she was “shocked and saddened” to hear of Steve’s death.

Jon Rhodes, former editor of the Blackpool Gazette and now director at Rhodes Media, said: “This is devastating and terribly sad news.

“Steve was a truly dedicated, dogged and hugely knowledgeable journalist and a extremely talented broadcaster.  He was a wonderful advocate for Blackpool and the Fylde coast and above everything he was a terrific guy, a real gentleman.

“There are many journalists in the North West – none more so than at BBC Radio Lancashire and here in Blackpool – who have lost a true friend. My sympathy to his family, colleagues and many many friends.”

Steve joined the BBC in August 1983 and moved to BBC Radio Lancashire in July 1988.

In 2013, he was awarded silver in the journalist of the year category at the BBC Local Radio Awards.

John Clayton, managing editor at Radio Lancashire, said: “Everyone at the station is utterly shocked and deeply saddened by Steve’s sudden death and our thoughts are with his wife Kath and his kids.

“Steve was our Blackpool and Fylde coast reporter. He was a dedicated and compassionate journalist who commanded the respect of his colleagues, our listeners and the whole Lancashire community.

“In the last few years, he had immersed himself in the issue of fracking and was committed to bringing our listeners the very best coverage of a story that directly affects so many of their lives and also attracts national headlines.

“We are all heartbroken at the sudden death of such a valued colleague and friend, who has worked here for so long.”

6 comments

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  • March 17, 2016 at 6:08 pm
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    I saw Steve last Friday at the Blackpool Inquiry and gave him a huge hug. He was one of those rare journalists who go out of their way to listen, and give a balance piece, he was very supportive of us in our cause, and his huge smile made it easy to talk with him. All of us from Frack Free Chorley are shocked and saddened, a great loss. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and colleagues at this sad time.

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  • March 17, 2016 at 7:06 pm
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    Ex-national and regional Ward-winning freelance journalist.

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  • March 17, 2016 at 8:12 pm
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    Steve Becker was as nice off air as he was when he was behind a microphone. I remember going to an awards do when he didn’t win and he was so magnanimous in defeat. He was a keen walker and was a regular visitor to White Coppice Cricket Ckub. Anyone who heard him only has to close their eyes to imagine his distinctive and resssuring voice. God bless Steve.

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  • March 17, 2016 at 8:55 pm
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    Steve was at BBC Radio Merseyside when I started there in 1985.
    A really talented reporter and producer who made it all seem so easy.
    He was dedicated to the local radio audience and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

    RIP

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  • March 18, 2016 at 11:54 am
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    Steve was my closest friend at secondary school in Stockport and although I haven’t seen him for many years I will always remember his kindness and humour.
    RIP Steve

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  • March 21, 2016 at 4:53 pm
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    Steve and I had our first jobs in newspapers together at the Lancaster Guardian and learned our trade together, as well as having some great nights out. Hugely enjoyable company, very happy bloke who always put interviewees at their ease and got some great stories and features as a result. Terribly sad news, such a huge character that I know his loss will leave a massive hole in the lives of his loved ones and close friends. Very, very sad news. RIP Steve. xx

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