John Noakes, the famous former Blue Peter presenter, who found fame along with his much-loved dog Shep, has died at the age of 83 after battling Alzheimer’s.
Mr Noakes was a much-loved household name throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s when he presented the long-running children’s show with a host of co-presenters, most famously Peter Purves and Valerie Singleton from 1965 to 1978.
On the show his faithful dog Shep would also star alongside him with Mr Noakes often shouting out “Get down Shep”.
Former Blue Peter presenter John Noakes with his dog Shep in 1978
Whilst presenting the show he would regularly perform stunts on the show, including the famous bobsleigh run where he injured himself as well as a record-breaking free-fall parachute jump.
Family friend Wendy Downes told Mail Online: “John Noakes, died peacefully on Sunday morning May 28th.
“He had endured and suffered from Alzheimer's over recent years and whilst he will be greatly missed by his wife, family and many friends his release from continuing ill health must be counted as a blessing.
John Noakes dies aged 83 Mon, May 29, 2017
John Noakes the Blue Peter presenter dies aged 83.
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John Noakes poses with a parrot on Blue Peter
John Noakes (C) with Peter Purves (L) and Valerie Singleton (R)
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John Noakes and Shep in 1976
“His many escapades with his faithful companion Shep, during his time with Blue Peter, will live on in many peoples memories and that is how his family would like him remembered.”
A family statement said he had "endured and suffered from" Alzheimer's disease.
"Whilst he will be greatly missed by his wife, family and many friends his release from continuing ill health must be counted as a blessing," they said.
John Noakes found fame as a presenter on Blue Peter, along with his dog Shep
John Noakes (R) with Valerie Singleton and Peter Purves
"His many escapades with his faithful companion Shep, during his time with Blue Peter, will live on in many peoples memories."
The statement continued: "That is how his family would like him remembered.”
His former Blue Peter co-presenter Peter Purves has lead tribute to the start, saying that his death was “very sad” but added that the Alzheimer's had become "extremely serious" in recent years.
John Noakes (R) with Lesley Judd (C) and Peter Purves (R)
Remembering his friend, Mr Purves told the BBC: "He was unique. He had qualities that no-one else had and he'll be remembered very fondly by a lot of people, and none more so than me."
Fans have flocked to social networking sites to offer their condolences.
Singer and actress Suzanne Shaw wrote on Twitter: “So sad 2hear about John Noakes passing away. Such a lovely man. Have very fond memories of working with him.”
John Noakes in later years
Comedian Omid Djalili wrote: “John Noakes meant so much to so many of us. Such a sad day.”
Former Blue Peter presenter Sarah Greene said: “Deepest condolences to the family of John Noakes.He made us feel we could all get out there & whizz down the Cresta Run, he broke the bounds.”
John Noakes became a household name as a Blue Peter presenter
The Yorkshireman originally trained as an aircraft engine fitter for the RAF before turning his hand to acting.
He joined the BBC children’s show as a presenter in December 1965, taking on the role of an action figure.
He was a much-loved figure on the show that he co-hosted for over 12 years.
During that time he took part in countless memorable stunts including bobsleighing – when he was baldy injured after the sled hit the ice – flying with the RAF’s Flying Falcons display team and a five-mile-high free-fall parachute jump with the RAF which broke the world record at the time.
Along with the stunts he also became noted for his phrase “Get down Shep” as he tried to control the Border Collie who was also a fan favourite.
The Singleton, Noakes, Purves presenting team was reunited in October 1998 for a programme celebrating 40 years of Blue Peter and again in January 2000 for the disinterment of the time capsule that they had buried in 1971.