Obituary : Tricia Ingrams

The art of being a good radio and television interviewer is to be a good listener. Interviewees sensed Tricia Ingrams's interest in them and her gentle manner drew revealing insights. She was especially good at interviewing children. Young leukaemia sufferers or transplant patients and their families enjoyed her support long after their news value had ended.

She was born Patricia Geaney in Edgware, Middlesex, in 1946. Her parents had recently arrived from Ireland, and her father, an electrician, worked hard to establish a hardware shop and accumulated a small property portfolio. There were three more children before, suddenly, Tricia's mother died. Her father never recovered. The family was orphaned when her brothers were aged 15 and 10; her sister just nine. At the age of 18 Tricia demonstrated her formidable strength of character when she fought the battle to keep the family together.

A job with the locally produced magazine of the Spar grocery chain launched her journalistic career. Writing for various IPC magazines followed, but it was as the Sun's "Action Girl" in 1970 that she found fame. Her diminutive figure would be pictured at the wheel of a Chieftain tank on Salisbury Plain, skydiving or dressed as a Playboy Club "Bunny".

The unlikely surroundings of the United Biscuits factory in west London saw the launch of her broadcasting career. Like others who went on to become household names in commercial radio she helped provide round-the- clock entertainment for the company's production line workers countrywide.

It was there that she met her husband, Paul Ingrams. When commercial radio started up in London in 1974 she became a newsreader and reporter at Capital Radio, and he went to LBC. She joined him there the following year when Capital closed its in-house news operation, and it was in LBC's subterranean studios off Fleet Street that her career took off.

Tricia Ingrams's warmth and enthusiasm transcended the barrier of microphone and, later, camera. "The Sunday Interview" with leading figures of the day attracted large audiences, as did the phone-ins she helped pioneer.

After helping set up Radio Victory in Portsmouth in 1976 Tricia and Paul Ingrams returned to London. She moved into television as a reporter/presenter on Thames Television's news programmes. For some years she shared the studio with the former ITN newsreader Andrew Gardner, he tall and powerfully built, she small and slim, immaculately groomed - the perfect foil.

There were personal disappointments and, in 1985, her marriage failed. She left Thames just before the company lost its franchise in 1992, working first at Anglia Television and later at Sky, before returning to radio as a launch presenter with LBC's successor, London News Radio, in 1994.

Tricia Ingrams fought cancer with everything in her armoury. Her determination and sense of the ridiculous never faltered. Three hundred people attended her funeral. At her request, no one wore black.

Barbara Long

Patricia Geaney, broadcaster and journalist: born Edgware 28 March 1946; married 1972 Paul Ingrams (marriage dissolved 1985); died London 26 October 1996.

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