Bill Turnbull’s funeral recalled ‘centuries past’ like that of Philip – Reverend

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The reverend who led Bill Turnbull’s funeral has said the private ceremony was similar to that of the Duke of Edinburgh in that it had “that lovely rich language” looking back to “centuries past”.

Rev Nic Stuchfield described Turnbull, best known as one of BBC Breakfast’s longest serving hosts, as a “seeker after the truth” and a “lovely person”.

TV presenter and journalist Turnbull died on August 31 at the age of 66 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in November 2017.

Bill Turnbull funeral
Bill Turnbull (Ian West/PA)

Family and close friends, including fellow broadcasts Charlie Stayt and Susanna Reid, attended the service at Holy Trinity church in Blythburgh, Suffolk.

Rev Stuchfield, who met Turnbull more than two years ago, told the PA news agency: “It is very similar to the service that the Duke of Edinburgh had for his funeral last year and so it’s got that lovely rich language that we look back to centuries past.”

He added: “He was exactly as you expected to see him from the television persona – very sharp, kind even though his body was obviously not performing terribly well in the last couple of years.

“He was a journalist and he was very inquisitive.

“He was a seeker after the truth and he was just a lovely person and I’ve had countless people come and talk to me over the last couple of weeks about how much they loved him and how much they missed him, and he really was in real life the person that people knew from the Breakfast show and elsewhere in his media history.”

Bill Turnbull funeral
Pallbearers carry the coffin of Bill Turnbull (Joe Giddens/PA)

Turnbull started his broadcast career at Radio Clyde in Scotland in 1978, joining the BBC as a reporter for the Today programme in 1986 before becoming a reporter for BBC’s Breakfast Time two years later, and then a correspondent for BBC News, reporting from more than 30 countries.

After moving back to the UK, he became one of the main presenters on BBC News 24, as it was then called, before joining BBC Breakfast in 2001.

He is survived by his wife Sesi, who he married in March 1988, and their three children.