BELOVED children’s TV host Geoffrey Hayes has died aged 76.

Hayes died in hospital after suffering from pneumonia surrounded by his family.

In a statement, Phil Dale said: "It is with great sadness that the family announce that Geoffrey passed away in hospital with his wife, Sarah, and son, Tom, by his side."

"The family would like to express their thanks to the many fans over the years as it always gave Geoffrey so much pleasure to know that he and his Rainbow team had given so much fun to TV and theatre audiences."

Hayes appeared in over 1,000 episodes of Rainbow from 1974 until 1992. He took over from original host David Cook.

The show saw Hayes hold the peace between squabbling puppets Zippy, George and Bungle.

The Northern Echo dug out these pictures of his career for our weekly feature looking back at entertainment.