Tributes have been pouring in for one of the North East’s most popular broadcasters, Luke Casey, who has died at the age of 80.

The presenter brought his natural gift for storytelling to news reporting over the decades, and he became a firm favourite presenting the hugely popular programme, The Dales Diary.

Born on January 9 1942 in Ballina, County Mayo on the West Coast of Ireland, before emigrating to England at just 14.

At 16, he landed his first job as a junior reporter at The Northern Echo.

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It was while working at the Stockton office that he met his wife, Mavis, and they were together for 63 years.

He started his broadcasting career working for BBC Look North in the 1960s. When he moved onto the BBC's Nationwide in London, his love for the North became obvious as he insisted on not moving away from the region.

In 2002, he launched a project to create a purpose-built regional film and television archive at the University of Teesside.

The £800,000 development funded by the Government’s Single Regeneration Budget brought together TV and film footage spanning over 80 years.

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After that, the Northern Region Film and Television Archive was then based in a new extension next to the University’s main entrance, King Edward’s Square, Middlesbrough.

Recent years were difficult for the veteran broadcaster as he battled Lewy Body dementia.

His family said: “For such a wonderful storyteller to be robbed of his beloved words was incredibly cruel.

“Although we are heart-broken, we are immensely proud of our lovely gentle father and husband.”

He died at home surrounded by his wife, two sons, Adam and Daniel and three daughters, Fiona, Siobhan and Nuala.

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