Laura Woods has paid a moving tribute to old friend, long-time supporter and talkSPORT legend Nigel Pearson.
The talkSPORT family was left heartbroken with news last week that Nigel had passed away at the age of 52.
Nigel was the voice of speedway and darts and a regular football commentator on talkSPORT.
And he was with us from the very beginning, having been part of the talkSPORT team right from the launch of the station back in 1995.
He was a much-loved figure within the broadcasting world, enjoyed by listeners and beloved by his colleagues, and will be greatly missed by his family and friends here at talk SPORT Towers.
Darts legend and 16-time world champion Phil Taylor and current stars Gerwyn Price and Michael Van Gerwen were among those to pay tribute to Nigel over the weekend.
Nigel’s beloved football club West Brom also issued a statement following news of the broadcaster’s passing, while racers and spectators observed a moment of silence and then applause at the National Speedway Stadium in Manchester on Monday afternoon.
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And it was followed by a touching tribute from Woods, who – encouraged by co-host Jamie O’Hara – spoke of how Nigel was her biggest supporter throughout her career.
It was a moment that stopped all listeners and all of us here at talkSPORT HQ in their tracks, as we remembered one of our own.
“I knew Nigel from the age of 21 when I started at Sky and you really became a friend to Nigel,” a tearful Laura began.
“If Nigel was around you, he wasn’t just a friend, he was such a source of support and a real source of joy.
“For me personally, he was a champion of mine. You need good people in the world like Nigel, and he was that.
“He was so talented as well. You can always pick out these incredible lines, his iconic commentary of him, he was a man who you just loved to be in his company of him.
“We got to travel around Europe a lot with speedway, around Britain with darts as well, and he was probably the first commentator and presenter who was just so accessible to everybody around him.
“He was a knowledgeable, wonderful, intelligent man.
“That [after hearing his career highlights] is the first time it’s properly hit, just to hear everything he’s achieved in his life and the effect he’s had on so many people.
“It’s tragic, It’s gut wrenching and I’m so sorry for his family and his kids. He meant the world to everyone here at talkSPORT, all the companies he worked for, and I’m really glad I get to pay my respects to him this morning.
“What a legacy he leaves behind.
“I have meant so much to listeners, especially to the followers of sports like darts and speedway. Speedway doesn’t have a huge audience and the respect, research, love and commitment he showed to that sport meant a lot to everybody in that sport.
“He’ll be so missed.”
Beautiful words, Laura.
Rest in peace Nige. Thank you for everything.