Bill Turnbull, a former BBC presenter, was remembered by friends and coworkers at his memorial service.
Turnbull, who oversaw BBC Breakfast for 15 years and received a prostate cancer diagnosis in 2018, passed away on August 31 at the age of 66.
The Holy Trinity Church in Blythburgh, Suffolk, where he had formerly resided, hosted his funeral service.
Sian Williams, his co-host on BBC Breakfast, called him “an outstanding man.”
Several other broadcasters attended the event, including Charlie Stayt, Susanna Reid, and Naga Munchetty.
The six pallbearers carrying Turnbull’s oak coffin into the church were among his two sons and son-in-law. The casket was decorated with a red rose and a purple bouquet.
Martha Kearney, Mike Bushell, Louise Minchin, Charlotte Hawkins, and Nick Robinson were among the other well-known attendees.
Williams, a 30-year friend, and longtime co-host of BBC Breakfast said: “Bill was a remarkable man, and I don’t believe he ever fully appreciated the effect he had on others.
“The impact of that statement has been felt across the UK, as I recently encountered a porter at the hospital where I work who stated, “I went to get checked [for prostate cancer] because Bill urged me to.”
“He was a good buddy and comrade, and it was a pleasure to sit next to him for 11 years. We had faith in and esteem for one another. He made me laugh, therefore I’ll always remember him with a smile.”
Turnbull hosted BBC Breakfast for 15 years and also fronted Songs of Praise and the game show Think Tank.
After leaving the BBC in 2016, he joined Classic FM and continued presenting shows on the network until recently.
In recognition of Turnbull’s enthusiasm for the football team, a bench outside the church was adorned with a personalized Wycombe Wanderers shirt bearing the number 60.
Turnbull shared the red sofa with current BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty for several years. Munchetty said of Turnbull: “He was passionate about the work, passionate about the journalism, and passionate about the viewers.
Bill never forgot that the audience was everything, and it still is. He was a pleasure to sit next to. She continued by calling Turnbull a “funny, charming, cheeky guy” who she would remember.
Williams added: “I wish he were able to understand how much he was valued, and I think it is incredible the number of people here who just wanted to come and celebrate and pay their respects to him.
“I think the reason that so many people have turned out today to pay their respects – to think about him and share memories of him and to celebrate him – is because he was a good man.”
“Some people claim that those who host TV programs are paid enormous sums of money, receive a lot of accolades, and have an easy job. It is very simple, but the strange thing is that very few people can do it correctly “explained he.
“Bill Turnbull did it well because he was a genuinely talented journalist, but he was also a person who could reach out, empathize, and be warm with people, from presidents, monarchs, and queens down to folks chatting about their dogs,” said one observer.
Former editor David Kogan described Turnbull as “as close to me as a brother could be.”
“He was a man with a deep personality and character, a deep friendship and family, and he was a very hilarious companion with whom I went on lengthy travels, listened to music, and watched football. He was a wonderful man, “said he.
“I’ve seen Bill fight this illness for the past five years with tremendous willpower, and his family has also fought it with incredible levels of support. In the final few weeks of his life, when it was obvious that the battle was lost, he was a guy who was not going to give up his life easily.
“We lost him in a horrible circumstance; he was way too young; today is a very emotional day, and we shall miss him.”
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