Alastair Yates BBC Midlands TV News circa 1979
The following obituary for Alastair Yates, who died 26th July 2018, is from his daughter Elspeth:
“Daddy. What do you say about a man who has graced our screens and our hearts for over 4 decades? Alastair (Yates) was a gentleman and a gentle man. Born in Burton upon Trent in 1952 he went on to be schooled at Manor House School, Ashby de la Zouch and the Burton Grammar School. His father instilled in him a love for ‘getting things done’ and a ‘lets have a go’ attitude, which permeated his whole life. He could often be found in the garden shed tinkering with broken equipment or making something. We often joked about his Heath Robinson contraptions and solutions.
Al didn’t enjoy school much but found his passion in DJ’ing for local clubs, and soon got himself a radio slot. His smooth tones and love for information however saw the newsroom make a beeline for him, and in 1978 he first appeared on television on the Midlands Today programme. He worked in regional news for 11 years before opening Sky News with Penny Smith in 1989. The BBC snapped him up in 1992 where he helped to launch the new BBC World Service before it changed ultimately to BBC News 24. With a sense of symmetry, Alastair finished his career back on the radio with Classic FM.
Alastair always enjoyed adventures and loved the outdoors. Family holidays were spent on activity breaks in Europe where he would wile away the days sailing and windsurfing while the children learnt to waterski, play tennis or explore local markets.
In his retirement Alastair could always be found on an evening with a glass of his favourite wine, Viognier or Stellenbosch. But he never really retired, he threw himself into charitable endeavours running communications for the Horse Rangers Association and later becoming Chair and communication lead of the ADHD Richmond charity. He spent all his retirement dedicated to expanding the knowledge and research around ADHD and ensuring parents had the tools they needed.
In the days since he has passed we have been in awe at the amount of people that have commented, tweeted and posted about him. There seem to be endless stories and amusing accounts from people around the world but the overriding sentiment is that he was a gentleman and a consummate professional that everyone loved to work with.
Alastair is survived by his long term partner Ginny, children Elspeth, James and Elyan and two grandchildren.”