Bob humphrys: Television sports journalist
Friday 22 August 2008
Bob Humphrys was the face of Welsh sport for almost 20 years as he fronted the sports news coverage of BBC Wales's Wales Today news programme. He received a lifetime achievement award from the BBC in 2004 for his near 30 years of service.
The younger brother of the newscaster and radio broadcaster John Humphrys, Bob was educated at Cardiff High School. Like John, his journalistic career started at the national newspaper of Wales, the Western Mail, and he joined BBC Wales in 1978 as a radio broadcaster. He quickly moved from radio into television and became a member of the Week In Week Out investigative team.
But sport was always Bob Humphrys' passion and in 1988 he became the sports correspondent for the Wales Today programme. He made an immediate impact and was three times the BT Welsh Sports Journalist of the Year. In 1992 he became the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame "Welsh Sports Journalist of the Year".
"He was so good at giving the audience all the information they needed about Welsh sport in such a short space of time," said the Welsh rugby player Gareth Edwards.
He was never happier than when surrounded by his sporting heroes and I can recall playing in charity football matches with him and Barry John. He had such enthusiasm for sport and the people he interviewed.
A champion of disabled sport, Humphrys formed a firm friendship with the wheelchair athletes John Harris and Chris Hallam and was best man at Harris's wedding. He also launched what became a legendary annual Christmas Eve party, to which many of Wales's leading sportsmen and women were invited. "Christmas Eve was always a dangerous time with Bob with the festivities starting around noon. He was great fun to be around and we often met up for a drink at his favourite pub, the Dynefor Arms," said the former England and Glamorgan cricketer Matthew Maynard.
He had the best contacts book in sport and I often asked him for help with numbers. He was a great enthusiast and had an almost encylopaedic knowledge of so many sports. I can still see him getting doused in champagne as he interviewed the Glamorgan team after we won the 1997 County Championship at Taunton. That was Bob, always in the thick of the action.
Having retired earlier this year, Humphrys was diagnosed with lung cancer in May, having complained of pains in his shoulder. He wrote a candid article for the Daily Mail: "In my life, I'd had just one puff of a cigarette when I was 10 and spent all of the following day throwing up. Punishment enough, it seemed, but no! Lung cancer was meant to affect those who'd smoked cigarettes next to me in pubs all my adult life. I'd always been in favour of the smoking ban in pubs. A pity it was all a little late."
George Robert Humphrys, journalist: born Cardiff 16 April 1952; married (one son, two daughters); died Cardiff 18 August 2008.
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