TRIBUTES are being paid to a former Guardian journalist who has died at the age of 78 after a distinguished career in broadcasting and newspapers.

Keith Macklin, whose first job was as a junior reporter with the Warrington Guardian, had a successful media career that spanned more than fifty years.

He worked in the Guardian’s newsroom from 1951 for four years under the editorship of Reg Thompson.

A move to Barrow’s Evening Mail followed before his broadcasting career began when he was asked to commentate on a rugby league game between Leeds and Oldham for the BBC in 1956.

He went on to work far and wide - in radio, and TV displaying versatility by commentating on crown green bowling, showjumping, the football World Cup in 1974, and rugby league, which had a deep passion for.

Keith even presented Songs of Praise and Pot Black on TV - but he headed back to radio in 1982 to be the first ever programme director at rock fm and magic 999 - known back then as red rose radio.

This led onto more commentary opportunities as he switched seamlessly from rugby, to football, to crown green bowling, snooker and showjumping.

Colleagues say it is his enduring association with Red Rose Radio, now Rock FM, that most will remember him for.

He was the first programme director at the station.

But he soon moved back to his sporting roots and, in the words of his colleagues at the station, established himself as "the voice of authority on sport in Lancashire".

In 2007 he released his autobiography - A Two Horse Town - detailing his half-century of experiences in broadcasting.

His funeral will be held on Friday at Blackburn Cathedral.