Spectacular final exit as John Noakes’ ashes are sent skyward at his old school

The ashes of Blue Peter presenter were sent into the sky by a rocket
The ashes of Blue Peter presenter were sent into the sky by a rocket

It was a fitting send-off for a well-loved TV star and man of action from Halifax who entertained the nation for years as Blue Peter’s longest serving presenter.

The ashes of John Noakes, who died in May, were launched in a rocket from the playing fields at Rishworth School – where he was a former pupil – in front of his wife Vicky, son Mark and a group of close family members and friends.

John Noakes with Shep

John Noakes with Shep

With his dog Shep and lashings of enthusiasm, John Noakes was a star who made Blue Peter a must-see programme for generations of children.

Shelf-born Noakes began his early adult life training as an engine fitter for the RAF before deciding to become an actor.

He landed the Blue Peter job after notching up small TV parts in series like Redcap and Mogul, when editor Biddy Baxter decided to have a third presenter on the show to join Christopher Trace and Valerie Singleton.

He developed a reputation for completing daring stunts during his Blue Peter days, with feats including ascending Nelson’s Column using just a rickety wooden ladder, a bruising encounter with a bobsleigh and a record-breaking skydive.

He died on May 28 this year, aged 83, after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.