TRIBUTES have poured in for the popular Cumbrian broadcaster Nigel Holmes.

One of the founders of BBC Radio Cumbria, Mr Holmes was a passionate advocate for quality broadcast journalism - particularly when it came to reporting on issues of faith.

He was active in the life of Wetheral Parish Church, where he was lay reader.

He died after becoming ill suddenly yesterday morning while travelling to Hexham.

Among those who paid tribute was the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev James Newcome.

He said: “I was deeply shocked to hear of the sudden death of Nigel Holmes, who I considered a good friend.

"My prayers are particularly with Susan [Mr Holmes' wife] and all of the family as they try to come to terms with their loss.

“It was only last Saturday that Nigel joined us at Diocesan Synod to take part in a presentation on the media and religious reporting.

"On that day, as ever, he remained a passionate and committed advocate of the place that religious programming should have within public sector broadcasting.

“It was a strong conviction built upon an equally strong faith.

"Nigel served selflessly within a church, parish and diocesan setting."

Mr Holmes' former colleague Graham Moss, who is a church warden at Wetheral Parish Church, knew him well.

"Nigel was an old-style gentleman, and a thoroughly decent man," said Graham, who is Assistant Editor at BBC Radio Cumbria, which started life in 1973 as BBC Radio Carlisle.

"He was one of the founders of this station.

"Nigel went on to become a stalwart of the station for the next 20 years, and he was still a contributor.

"He was passionate about the importance of local radio, and of high quality local broadcasting."