Thursday 8 December 2016

Farewell to Johnny Lyons, a human sunburst

Published 22/08/2015 | 02:30

Johnny Lyons
Johnny Lyons

Johnny Lyons' voice was his treasure and, at full pelt, you could probably have heard it above a jumbo jet's roar.

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If you roomed next to him on a football trip, chances are your mornings began with the sound of a larynx being limbered up for broadcast. Johnny took great pride in how he sounded and it was always easy to hear why. Even in casual conversation, he had the tone and enunciation of a newsreader.

I doubt he ever fully understood just how fondly he was held in the hearts of those who travelled with him, most of us just pencil-grey Lowry ghosts set next to his glorious, sunburst personality. But news of his sudden death this week decanted such an outpouring of grief and love in this profoundly cynical industry, there could be no confusion about what he meant to people.

I last spoke to Johnny in March, just a chance meeting on Digges Lane precipitated by that booming, ring-announcer voice bellowing your name across the street. I suspect Johnny never did anything sneakily or furtively in his life. He was just endlessly open to the world, a human light of such radiance, nothing ever came across as hidden.

To hear his broadcasts on 98FM, you could not fail to detect that beautiful eccentricity married to the disciplines of a consummate professional. He will be desperately missed by all who knew him and, no doubt, those who tuned in to his morning broadcasts.

Heaven better have been ready for a new rock-god at the gate.

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