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Kent-raised Blockbusters host Holness dies

Bob Holness, pictured in Ashford in 2003
Bob Holness, pictured in Ashford in 2003

Tributes have been paid to former Kent schoolboy and Blockbusters host Bob Holness.

The 83-year-old broadcaster's family said he died peacefully in his sleep early this morning.

Shortly after his birth in South Africa, Mr Holness' family moved to Ashford.

As a young man, he attended Ashford Grammar School - now Norton Knatchbull - and later worked at Geerings Printers.

Mr Holness had a career spanning almost 60 years, but was best known as the host of TV quiz show Blockbusters.

He was a patron of Find A Voice, the Ashford charity that supports people with severe speech and communication difficulties, for about 15 years.

Find A Voice fundraising director Alastair Dutch said: "It is with great sadness that Find A Voice has learned of the death of our long standing patron Bob Holness. Bob was a very active and enthusiastic supporter of Find A Voice.

"Find A Voice was immensely proud to have such a distinguished and absolutely delightful man as one of their patrons.

"He had been a patron for virtually all of Find A Voice's 15 years and the contribution he made to the life and wellbeing of the charity cannot be understated.

"It is no exaggeration to say that it is very unlikely the charity would have survived in its early days had it not been for his support.

"It was Bob who coined the name Find A Voice, so his contribution will remain at the heart of our organisation.

"Our thoughts go out to his widow Mary - also a Patron of Find A Voice - and to the rest of Bob's family and to his friends who miss him greatly and who will no longer be able to quip 'give us a P Bob'. He will be much missed."

Mr Holness suffered a number of strokes and had been in a nursing home.

He leaves his wife Mary, three children and seven grandchildren.

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