Gary Burgess, an ITV journalist, died on New Year’s day following a long-documented cancer journey
ITV journalist Gary Burgess died peacefully in hospital on New Year’s Day.
He had documented his long journey with cancer after receiving a terminal diagnosis last year.
Doctors had told him that the tumours found on his lungs were inoperable.
He died on January 1 at Jersey Hospice.
In a final message, written for release after his death and released by ITV, Gary wrote: “I’ve had the best life. I’ve had the luckiest life. I met my soul mate and the love of my life who went on to become my husband. I got to work with some of the most amazing people in newsrooms and studios doing the job I absolutely adore.
“And I’ve been able to share my own relatively short time on this planet surrounded by friends and loved ones who have enriched my life in ways they may never truly understand.
“My greatest sadness is the prospect of leaving all of that and all of them behind. The thought of doing that to Alan is unfathomable to process, but I also know the very people who’ve shown me love and support will now wrap up those feelings around him in the coming days.
“It’s time for me to hand over my microphone and keyboard for others to do the talking about me, so let my final words simply be ‘thank you’. Every person in my life has, in their own way, helped me live my best life. That’ll do.”
Following news of his death, Senator Kristina Moore, Chair of Jersey’s Scrutiny Liaison Committee, paid tribute.
She said: “Gary has always been across the news in a really deep and meaningful way. His contacts are second to none. It was amazing to see how he would have been contacted by so many people and have the inside track.
“But it’s a good thing that someone has done their research and asks the challenging questions. That’s the whole point.”
During his long career, Gary also worked at Island FM, BBC Guernsey, Channel 103 and the Jersey Evening Post.
He was born in Manchester in 1975 and moved to South Africa with his family when he was just six years old.
Friends say that it was witnessing the institutionalised inequality of Apartheid at such a young age that could have cemented his desire to question the status quo and be a voice for those who could not stand up for themselves.
It was after returning to the UK for secondary school that Gary landed his first job at Radio Wave in Blackpool in 1992.
After starting out as the teaboy, he went on to become a newsreader, breakfast show presenter and programme controller before leaving nine years later.
Before leaving, he set a world record for the longest radio show by staying on air for 76 hours – raising money to build a new £2.9m cancer unit in Blackpool.
He went on to manage radio stations across England and Scotland, before moving to Guernsey to work at Island FM, where he won national awards for his work.
One of the station’s presenters, Carl Ward said: “He always said when he got off the boat and saw that beautiful view of St Peter Port harbour that he knew he would fit in here, that island life was for him.
“He loved the community, the warmth about it all. Every single event, the roadshows we did, even car boot sales, he would go along to speak to people and find out how Guernsey ticked.”
After a stint at BBC Radio Guernsey, he moved to ITV as a Guernsey reporter.
In 2012, he moved to Jersey to become one of the channel’s chief reporters.
Gary was first diagnoses with cancer in 1999, but the testicular cancer was fought off with surgery and chemotherapy.
He tragically relapsed in 2014 and 2016 after the disease spread to his lungs.
He was then diagnosed with terminal cancer in November 2020, when he was given a life expectancy of six to 12 months.
He retired from ITV in August 2021.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.