Belfast Telegraph

Downtown Radio's Harry Castles dies aged 67

By Cate McCurry

Harry Castles, the popular retired Downtown Radio broadcaster, has died.

The 67-year-old, a former news editor at the station, was rushed to hospital, after falling seriously while in Spain.

The father-of-two fronted one of the most popular programmes on Downtown, the Sunday phone-in discussion show, which ran until 2007.

Following his retirement, he moved to southern Spain with his wife, Liz.

Tributes were paid to Mr Castles following the announcement of his passing.

Broadcaster Naomi Holland tweeted: “This Downtown Radio legend gave me my first job in news reading. Harry Castles has passed away after a short illness. #RIP”

"The passing of a legendary broadcaster and professional," added Peter McVerry, station manager at U105.



Before his death was announced, a close friend of the former journalist said that his health had deteriorated in recent months.

His children, Darren and Julie, were last night keeping a bedside vigil as their father continued to fight for his life.

Harry was one of the first voices to be heard on air when Downtown Radio launched in March 1976.

He played a key part in its news coverage and hosted a Saturday afternoon segment that was notable for his informed enthusiasm about the spectrum of local sports and its star performers.

After a time, he was attracted to the challenge of a job in public relations, before later returning to Downtown Radio.

Close friend Chris Ryder first met Harry in the 1960s, when he was setting out in journalism and had a day job in Morton Newspapers covering football for the Weekly News.

"Some years ago, having retired, he and Liz emigrated to southern Spain, where they enjoyed a dream retirement in an apartment with views across the Mediterranean to Gibraltar and Morocco," Chris said.

"But he's been ill for some months. He's one of my closest friends. He's a very kind person."

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