Sir Paul McCartney pays tribute to school friend Peter Sissons

The veteran broadcaster died on Tuesday at the age of 77.

Sir Paul McCartney has paid tribute to his former school friend Peter Sissons after the veteran newsreader died aged 77.

Sir Paul and Sissons attended school together in Liverpool in the 1950s, alongside another future Beatle in George Harrison.

Former BBC and ITN news anchor Sissons, whose broadcasting career spanned more than 40 years, died on Tuesday in hospital surrounded by his family.

Sir Paul said he was “so sad” to hear the news.

Alongside pictures of him and Sissons at school, Sir Paul wrote on his website: “Dear Peter, my old school mate from the Liverpool Institute (now LIPA) has passed away.

“It’s so sad to hear the news. We were in the same year and stayed in touch as time went by and we both followed our separate careers.

“He was a talented news presenter with a great sense of humour. I will miss him but always have fond memories of the time we spent together.

“My sympathies go out to his family and I send my love to them all.

“Thanks for the good times Pete. X.”

Tributes poured in for Sissons from across the world of broadcasting, with Question Time host Fiona Bruce describing him as “one of the loveliest men” in the business.

“His brilliance in news was well known but to me, he was generous, funny, a bit naughty and so kind. I will miss him very much,” she added.

Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow also praised Sissons – who hosted the first edition of Channel 4 News in 1982 and fronted it for seven years – for setting “the tone and high journalistic standards that the programme seeks to emulate to this day”.

BBC broadcaster Andrew Neil tweeted that Sissons “excelled at everything he did and was a first-class broadcaster and journalist to his fingertips”.

He added: “Plus great company off screen. Will miss him. RIP.”

BBC director-general Tony Hall described Sissons as “one of the great television figures of his time – as an interviewer, presenter and world-class journalist”.

Sissons retired from broadcasting in 2009 and was considered at the time to be one of the UK’s longest-serving news presenters.

Sissons, who had three children with wife Sylvia, died at Maidstone Hospital in Kent.

His agent said in a statement: “His wife and three children were with him and wish to pass on their thanks to the hospital staff who were so caring and fought gallantly to save him to the end.”

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