Julie Donaldson: Tributes pour in for Redcar community radio presenter who has died of Covid-19

TRIBUTES have poured in after a community radio award winner has died of Covid-19.

Zetland FM, in Redcar, breakfast show presenter Julie Donaldson has died, following more than three weeks in intensive care with coronavirus, it has been reported.

Cleveland Police posted on Facebook: “We’re devastated to hear of the passing of our friend Julie Donaldson.

“Julie always put our officers and staff at ease on her radio show and had a wonderful way of calming their nerves and getting to know the real person behind the uniform. She helped us with our staff awards and allowed us to reach communities through her warmth and humour.

“We loved working with Julie and she will be truly missed. Our thoughts are with her family and colleagues.”

Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar, said: “It’s heartbreaking to hear that the beautiful Julie Donaldson, has sadly passed away from a short battle with Covid-19.

“Julie was the life and soul of Zetland FM and I remember my first interview with her well, as she poked fun at me for smiling too much.

“I’ll miss her humour and selfies – and the amazing sunrise pictures she managed to take from her spot in the beacon, while we were all still waking up.

“My thoughts are with her friends at Zetland and elsewhere, and her husband John, who she’d only recently married.

“I also want to extend my thanks to the team at James Cook for their efforts in helping all those fighting Covid.

“May she rest in peace.” 

Carl Quartermain, Labour leader for Redcar & Cleveland, said yesterday: “Redcar lost its voice today. 

“We have lost a beautiful soul and are completely devastated. Many a tear will flow. 

“Julie was our friend and a true ambassador for this town. A reassuring voice every morning on our radios, she started each day with the lighter side of life with good humour, anecdotes and stories. As well as being witty, she was gracious, thoughtful and extremely generous with her time. 

“I was so fortunate to be in her company over the years doing interviews at Zetland FM and watching her perform at many live events she helped plan and present. She supported and cared and did her very best to promote Redcar with positivity and energy. We will miss you Julie.

“My heartfelt sympathy to John her soulmate, to her Zetland FM family, and to all who were blessed to have known her. 

“Rest in peace.”

On Twitter, Jessie Joe Jacobs, Labour candidate for Tees Valley mayor, said: “Absolutely gutted to hear that Julie Donaldson, the Zetland FM award winning presenter, has died today after weeks of battling with Covid-19. Her big personality made a big impact on everyone that knew her and she will be deeply missed. My thoughts are with her family today.”

Her husband John, who she married earlier this year, said in a post shared on the radio station’s Facebook page yesterday: “I am devastated to have to write that Julie died this morning shortly after 5am. She was admitted to hospital earlier this month and put up an incredibly brave fight to combat this terrible disease.

“In the end her heart simply could not cope with the strain which her deteriorating lungs were placing on it. The doctors and nurses in ICU were exceptional and were all so supportive and went the extra mile to comfort her when she most needed it. I would also like to thank all her friends on Facebook for your kind words and encouragement, I know this has helped her enormously.”

Mrs Donaldson was named Best Female Presenter at the Community Radio Awards in 2018.

The Northern Echo | Teesside