BBC stars gather to remember George Alagiah at memorial service

Remembering George Alagiah: BBC’s Fiona Bruce, Sophie Raworth and Nick Robinson join News At Six anchor’s wife at memorial service after journalist’s tragic death aged 67 following bowel cancer battle

  • BBC News at Six presenter George Alagiah died on July 24 in London aged 67
  • Memorial service at St Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square today

BBC stars past and present gathered to remember George Alagiah at his memorial service in London today, four months after the newsreader’s death aged 67.

Presenters including Mishal Husain, Fiona Bruce and Sophie Raworth were in attendance for the service at St Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square.

Other stars present were Nick Robinson, Mark Austin, Reeta Chakrabarti, Natasha Kaplinksi, Fergus Walsh, Simon McCoy, Sian Williams and Matthew Amroliwala. 

Alagiah’s wife Frances Robathan, with whom he had two children, and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence – Princess Anne’s husband – also attended the service led by Reverend Dr Sam Wells which featured music from the London African Gospel Choir.

Sri Lanka-born journalist Alagiah, the face of BBC One’s News At Six since 2007, was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer, which had spread to his liver and lymph nodes, in April 2014.

Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence (far left) and Mark Austin (next to him) at George Alagiah’s memorial service at St Martin-in-the-Fields church in London’s Trafalgar Square today

BBC newsreader Sophie Raworth is among those at George Alagiah’s memorial service today

Natasha Kaplinksi attends the memorial service for her former colleague George Alagiah today

Alagiah’s wife Frances Robathan is pictured outside the service for her late husband today

Sian Williams smiles outside St Martin-in-the-Fields where Alagiah’s service was held today

BBC News at Six presenter George Alagiah died on July 24 in London aged 67

He endured two rounds of chemotherapy and several operations, including the removal of most of his liver.

In October 2015 he announced that his treatment was over and returned to BBC News At Six on November 10.

Alagiah joined the BBC in 1989 and spent many years as one of the corporation’s leading foreign correspondents before moving to presenting.

He first began hosting the 6pm news bulletin in early 2003, but stepped up to front it solo four years later following the departure of his co-host, Natasha Kaplinsky.

BBC presenters Fiona Bruce (left) and Mishal Husain speak outside the memorial today

BBC Radio 4’s Today programme host Nick Robinson is pictured outside the memorial today

BBC newsreader Matthew Amroliwala at the memorial service for George Alagiah today

BBC colleagues Reeta Chakrabarti and Fergus Walsh outside Alagiah’s service in London today

He was previously a prominent foreign correspondent, often as a specialist in Africa with coverage of civil wars in Somalia and Liberia as well as the genocide in Rwanda 20 years ago.

Throughout his career he interviewed central political figures, among them former South African president Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and ex-Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe.

Before joining the BBC, Alagiah worked as a print journalist and went on to write a number of books including A Home From Home, which looked at what it means to be British.

Throughout his illustrious career, he also presented other shows such as Mixed Britannia, looking at the UK’s mixed-race population.

He was made an OBE in the 2008 New Year Honours.

Former BBC newsreader Simon McCoy, who also worked for GB News, at the service today

Reverend Dr Sam Wells led the service today at his church, St Martin-in-the-Fields

The service at St Martin-in-the-Fields featured music from the London African Gospel Choir

His cancer returned in December 2017 and he underwent further treatment before again returning to work.

He took another break from studio duties in October 2021 to deal with a further spread of cancer, before returning in April 2022.

In October last year, Alagiah announced he was taking a break from presenting the BBC’s News At Six following another scan.

Alagiah spoke openly about the experience of living with cancer, joining a videocast for the charity Bowel Cancer UK in 2020 in which he said he sometimes felt he had the ‘easy part’, living with bowel cancer while his loved ones had to watch.

He died on July 24 in London aged 67.

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