ONE of the region's best known sports journalists, Doug Moscrop, passed away in hospital early this morning. (Wednesday, April 17)

Mr Moscrop, who was from Northumberland, was the horse racing expert on Tyne Tees television for around four decades.

He reported on race meetings across the region, gave tips including the popular 'Moscrop's money spinner' in a weekly Friday night feature on the news programme and was also racing editor for Newcastle-based The Journal newspaper.

It is understood he died at around 1.20am at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, following an operation and short illness, aged 77.

His wife Joan died in 2017 and he is survived by daughter, Susan.

Roger Tames, former head of sport at Tyne Tees TV, worked with Mr Moscrop for more than 30 years.

He said: "He was a moneumental character. He loved racing, knew everyone in it and everyone know him, he had fantastic contacts and in the days before online betting and mobile phones everyone followed Doug's tips.

"He was very much a part of people's lives for many years.

"He wasn't your standard TV performer-type. He had a distinctive Northumberland burr, and was very proud of being from Northumberland. He made himself a very accomplished TV reporter.

"He was absolutely frank and fearless, had very high standards and earned a huge respect from the industry.

"He was a great servant of horse racing, he did a huge amount for racing as a sport and to bring it to people.

"Once you met Doug Moscrop, he was just Moscrop. He was a great singer, he once sang Silent Night and gave an epic performance and sounded like a classical opera singer.

"Socially, he was formidable. He worked hard and played hard.

"I saw him just before Christmas and was stunned by today's news, but I've spent a great deal of time smiling and laughing because we had a great time working together and going out together.

"He was an absolute one-off, a top, top bloke who everyone adored."