Northern Ireland

Veteran BBC Radio Ulster presenter Walter Love remembered as talented broadcaster who kept his ‘wonderful, youthful outlook’ on life

Broadcaster and writer Walter Love outside the BBC building in Ormeau Avenue, Belfast.
Broadcaster and writer Walter Love outside the BBC building in Ormeau Avenue, Belfast.

THE veteran BBC Northern Ireland presenter Walter Love has been remembered as a talented broadcaster who retained his youthful outlook on life.

With a career spanning over 77 years, his family confirmed he passed away in a nursing home on Friday following a short illness at the age of 88.

Relatives commented that he was “a dearly loved member of the Love family.”

Jazz Club with Walter Love aired its final show on Radio Ulster last year and he had also been known for the programmes Day By Day, Love in the Afternoon and the Sunday favourite Love Forty.

Irish News columnist Anne Hailes had known Mr Love since they were teenagers, and was later invited on to his morning programme.

This in turn created the opportunity for her popular Ask Anne programme on both radio and television.

“Going into the studio in the mornings, you never what to expect with Walter, he was a great mischief maker and would try to make you laugh during things,” she said.

“He was just a great fellow, someone who in many ways retained his wonderful youthful outlook on life.

“That’s as well as being a very good and serious broadcaster. His strength was in research, he was brilliant and could tackle any subject because he did his homework.

“He was an especially good person to go to if you had any question on jazz or music.”

Anne Hailes
Anne Hailes Anne Hailes

His creativity later extended to painting, inspired by his late wife Mary who had been an art teacher.

“He would paint all his own Christmas cards for instance.

“People will remember him more than fondly, he was Love by name, love by nature.” Ms Hailes said.

“He was such a good and positive guy who was fun to be around. He was also a great man to go to if you had a problem, especially in broadcasting.

“He was just all things to all people, and could turn his hand to anything. More than anything else he valued friendship.”

Starting out as a BBC radio freelancer in the 1950s, Mr Love worked a studio manager in London before a decade as a television newsreader in Belfast and joining Radio Ulster in 1978.

Awarded an MBE in 1997 for his services to broadcasting, he was was also inducted into the Phonographc Performance Ireland Radio Awards Hall of Fame in 2014.

BBC Northern Ireland Director Adam Smyth called him an “incredible performer on air” who was “genial, kind and cheerful” and had “a hint of mischief”.

“He loved presenting radio programmes and his melodious voice, ability to create rapport, and his encyclopaedic knowledge of music made him one of our longest-serving and best-loved broadcasters,” he said.