By his own admission, Gavin's time in the 2009 Great North Run was entirely unremarkable. He wasn't breaking any records or even setting a PB with two hours plus. But what was remarkable was that he ran the full distance with a very painful case of plantar fasciitis. In the days before the race he was hobbling slowly around his office looking very unlike a man about to run a half-marathon. He insisted that he'd "see how it felt on the day" but popular opinion agreed that he wouldn't be joining the team on the start line. Sunday morning came however and Gavin was there, still hobbling but insisting that it was only pain and only thirteen miles, so what was there to worry about? It may not have been medically advisable but it was a mark of the determination, spirit and character with which Gavin approached everything. He wasn't deterred by obstacles, however large; he didn't take 'no' for answer; he didn't back down on a promise and he was always there for the team.
It was these qualities, along with a big personality, boundless creativity and a great sense of drama, which helped him achieve his ambition and reach the top of his profession. Having started his career as a photographer and journalist, Gavin turned his talents to television and made his mark very quickly, soon becoming assistant producer of Coronation Street and finally series producer of Emmerdale. At Emmerdale he was both hugely popular and immensely successful, attracting great talent to the screen, taking the viewing figures to new highs and winning the 2010/11 Broadcast Award for continuing drama and 2010 TV Times Programme of the Year.
After the painful experience of 2009, Gavin intended to join the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research team again in 2010 and better his time but as September 19th drew near he pulled out, saying that he was feeling under the weather. It was very unlike Gavin not to do what he said he'd do, but this time the obstacle proved insurmountable. Unknown to anyone Gavin was already suffering with lymphoma, the cancer which claimed his life on 26 November 2010. This year's Great North Run will be a particularly poignant occasion but the course will seem shorter as we'll be running for Gavin, and with his determination, spirit and character in mind.
Head of Continuing Series, Drama