Belfast Telegraph

Funeral of presenter Anderson held

Broadcaster Gerry Anderson was an enormous and unique talent who can count re-naming a city among his many achievements, mourners at his funeral were told.

More than 1,000 family, friends and fans gathered to say a final farewell to the BBC Radio Ulster stalwart in his native Derry/Londonderry - a place whose alternate title, Stroke City, was famously coined by Anderson in typically wry style to reflect the endless contention over the other two names.

The irreverent 69-year-old, who had been battling a long illness, died on Thursday.

Broadcasters Eamonn Holmes, Stephen Nolan and Colin Murray, singer songwriter Phil Coulter and former SDLP leader John Hume were among a host of well-known faces who joined Anderson's widow Christine at St Eugene's Cathedral to pay their respects.

Father Paul Farren said the radio personality, who brought humour to the airwaves during the darks years of the Northern Ireland Troubles, had always been "true to himself".

"We gather to give thanks to God for Gerry's life and for all the joy and gifts and entertainment that so many people received through Gerry, especially those into whose lives he brought light and joy when light could be dim and joy hard to find," he said.

The cleric revealed that, despite his very public persona, Anderson was an "immensely private man".

"In many ways everybody knows Gerry and, in other ways, only Christine and her family know Gerry."

Ft Farren added: "He is a man full of life, he is a man who died too soon.

"He is the man who could entertain the masses and the man who was never happier than when he was at home with just his family around him."

Ft Farren said Anderson was unaffected by his fame and was known for his "boundless generosity".

"He is the man who could re-name a city and he is the man his family describes as being a simple man who enjoys simple things," he added.

Anderson was forced off the airwaves almost two years ago due to ill health but, until relatively recently, had always expressed a desire to return.

The former show band guitarist had a 30-year career in broadcasting.

His professional highlights included his 2005 induction into the UK Radio Hall of Fame, while his brief and ill-fated spell on BBC Radio 4 a decade earlier was undoubtedly a low.

He also hosted a number of TV programmes on BBC Northern Ireland, but it was his contribution to Radio Ulster and Radio Foyle for which he will be most fondly remembered.

Anderson's quirky morning phone-in show, which he presented with long-time friend and colleague Sean Coyle, had a legion of loyal fans.

Coyle was among those who carried Anderson's coffin from the church at the end of the service.

The late presenter was taken for burial at the City Cemetery.


From Belfast Telegraph