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Son pays touching tribute to ex-radio news chief Castles

By Angela Rainey

Published 13/10/2016

Downtown Radio stalwart Harry Castles, who has died
Downtown Radio stalwart Harry Castles, who has died

Family and friends of Harry Castles will say a final farewell to the radio stalwart when he is laid to rest tomorrow.

The former head of news at Downtown Radio, whose career spanned more than 30 years, died in the early hours of Wednesday morning after suffering a series of strokes and heart attacks.

Devoted wife Liz (67) kept a bedside vigil alongside his children Julie (44) and Darren (43) as he peacefully slipped away at hospital in Benalmadena on the Costa Del Sol.

He is also survived by his only grandson, Conor (22).

Son Darren said his dad was an experienced and trusted reporter, a raconteur who had a flair for telling stories.

"Radio was his passion," he said. "Dad was a fantastic talker.

"He loved to listen to stories and he loved to tell them too.

"Dad was a real people person who just loved talking to people, he especially loved his grandson Conor, who he would sit down with and tell him stories about who he had met or interviewed, over a Black Bush.

"He loved all sports, and during his time at Downtown Radio I remember that he was really pleased that it would be sponsoring Joey Dunlop because he loved motor racing, having done some racing himself at Kirkistown."

Amongst many of the stories Harry covered were the tragic death of Princess Diana and the Troubles.

Darren said: "Once dad was covering a riot in Belfast during the Troubles and he got caught between the police and the rioters.

"He also met Ian Paisley and Gerry Fitt and people in politics, but the one story that he used to tell us was about the funeral of George Best.

"Dad was there with a load of old hacks and as they watched the service they were reduced to tears - that would have been out of character for many of them."

His family say that although they are sad to lose him, he "was a great father and husband".

Darren added: "My dad was loved and well known as a good man. He was a very helpful person and was kind.

"And he was also very popular - a lot of people knew him - no matter where he went he got on really well with everyone.

"He loved hearing a story then telling it, that adrenaline in reporting, he loved it."

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