FORMER SONGS OF PRAISE PRESENTER GEOFFREY WHEELER has died, aged 83, on 10 December 2013. He had presented the popular Sunday evening programme for 20 years.Ernie Rea, a former head of religious broadcasting who worked with Geoffrey as a “rookie” producer, pays this tribute on the Songs of Praise website:

“Geoffrey was a joy to work with. He was thoroughly professional. There was never any danger of him turning up late for a film shoot, or wanting to leave early. He threw himself heart and soul into making the programme the best possible representation of the community, which meant taking time to talk to contributors before recording their interview, so that he fully understood the essence of their story and how best to tell it.

“For Geoffrey, Songs of Praise was a vocation, a perfect fit between his life and his work. He had spent a spent a lifetime in broadcasting, but Songs of Praise allowed him to express his deep Christian convictions.

“He was steeped in the Church and its music. He was a lay reader in his local church and was actively involved in healing ministry, something he continued as long as his own health allowed it.”