Monday, May 29, 2017

Former Blue Peter Favourite Legend, John Noakes Is Dead After A Long Battle With Alzheimer's!!

Blue Peter legend John Noakes – best known for his daring stunts and his pet dog Shep – has died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.

The 83 –year old was a household name in the 1960s, 70s and 80s and remains Blue Peter's longest serving presenter, fronting the children's show with a variety of co-hosts including Valerie Singleton and Peter Purves from 1965 until 1978.

Famed for using the phrase 'Get down Shep' during his attempts to control his excitable border collie, he usually fulfilled the action man role.

Among his many stunts was a record-breaking free-fall parachute jump. He later made several series of Go With Noakes.

John Noakes, pictured with border collie dog Shep on Blue Peter, has died aged 83 following a battle with Alzheimer's

The presenter's catchphrase 'Get down Shep' became famous due to Mr Noakes's desperate attempts to control the excitable dog

His family told MailOnline he died peacefully on Sunday. Mr Noakes is pictured here on 1999 programme Mad About Pets

Today family friend Wendy Downes told Mail Online: ‘John Noakes, died peacefully on Sunday morning May 28th.

'He had endured and suffered from Alzheimer's over recent years and whilst he will be greatly missed by his wife, family and many friends his release from continuing ill health must be counted as a blessing.

'His many escapades with his faithful companion Shep, during his time with Blue Peter, will live on in many peoples memories and that is how his family would like him remembered.’

Mr Noakes passed away nearly two years after he was airlifted to hospital after apparently falling into a roadside storm drain while out walking near his then Majorcan home.

Mr Noakes and Shep, pictured, became a double act on Blue Peter, with the catchphrase 'Get down Shep' often heard when the presenter tried to control the excitable dog

He had sparked a huge search after vanishing on an extremely hot day. The presenter was missing for almost ten hours as police, his wife and friends searched countryside near the town of Andratx, where he lived at the time.

He had no water with him and there were fears he might have become dehydrated in the searing 35C (95F) heat.

As the hunt became increasingly desperate, town hall officials even highlighted his disappearance on the council's website as six police officers and ten members of the civil guard joined the search.

Mr Noakes was eventually spotted by a police helicopter lying collapsed 'in the bottom of a storm drain' less than a mile from his house.

His wife Vicky, then 71, said he had fallen 'among long grass' which had hidden him from search parties.

The Yorkshireman may not have been able to shout for help because of the effects of the extreme heat.

Mr Noakes was airlifted to hospital in the island's capital Palma and was said to be 'in a bad way' but stable.

He later returned home but his health continued to decline.

Although dehydrated from spending hours outside in scorching temperatures, the former children's TV star was uninjured and is expected to make a good recovery. Speaking minutes after her husband was found,

Mrs Noakes said: 'I've been told he's not injured in any way, but I imagine he's dehydrated after being more than nine hours without water under a scorching sun and I assume they'll keep him in hospital overnight to rehydrate him and check he's okay.

Noakes, right, made up a famous presenting team on the show alongside Peter Purves, left, and Valerie Singleton, centre

Mr Noakes, pictured at his home in Majorca, Spain, in 2000, left Blue Peter in 1978 after 12 years on the show.

'He was found very near the road in a sort of a storm drain that fills up when it rains. I imagine he just lost his bearings and strayed off the path and fallen somewhere.'

She added: 'I knew it couldn't be far because he wouldn't have been able to walk that far.'

A police officer added: 'He was very weak because he has been outside for many hours in the heat, presumably without eating or drinking anything. 'Bear in mind that this gentleman is 81 and suffers from Alzheimer's, which is assumed to have contributed to him going missing.'

Mrs Noakes had put out an appeal to help find her husband of 52 years after he wandered off.

Mr Noakes was an avid sailor and twice tried to sail around the world with wife Vicky, right, only to fail both times


He took on Shep as a puppy in 1971, pictured, and raised him, and was even allowed to keep the dog when he left the show

She followed him in the car but lost sight of him when she parked the vehicle to catch up with him on foot.

A ten-strong civil guard mountain rescue team was joined on the ground by firefighters, local police, civil protection workers and increasing numbers of expat friends of the couple as well as locals.

The civil guard confirmed its helicopter had found Mr Noakes alive 'but in need of medical attention'.

An officer said: 'Fortunately we found him when we did, because another couple of hours and with night closing in the search would have been suspended till tomorrow, and then it could have been a different story.'

Mr Noakes' dementia was only known to a close circle of friends and family. Speaking earlier in the day, his wife said he had lived with Alzheimer's for a 'number of years'.

Mr Noakes, right, is pictured here reunited with Peter Purves and Valerie Singleton at the National Television Awards 2008

She added: 'You learn to live and cope with things. But this is a little different this time and I am concerned because it is the hottest day of the year so far here.

'If he is wandering around, he'll get more confused as he gets more dehydrated.'

The couple's son Mark, 51, a landscape gardener from Bentley, Hampshire, said he was 'very relieved' at the news his father had been found.

In 1982 Mr Noakes and his wife set sail to travel the world, but were shipwrecked in a hurricane. In 1984 they tried again and got no further than Majorca and ended up settling.

In 2008 he appeared in a Blue Peter-themed edition of the Weakest Link - and became visibly upset when Anne Robinson mentioned Shep.


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