Gardeners' Question Time star John Cushnie dies of heart attack

John Cushnie

Sudden death: The 66-year-old, who appeared on the BBC Radio 4 show for 15 years, died on New Year's Eve

John Cushnie, the Gardeners' Question Time panellist, has died of a heart attack.

The 66-year-old, who ran his own business as well as appearing on the BBC Radio 4 show for 15 years, died suddenly on New Year's Eve.

Mr Cushnie, an experienced landscape gardener, made his last appearance on the radio programme four days earlier.

Mark Damazer, Controller of Radio 4, said: 'I last saw John Cushnie in mid-December recording a special Christmas edition of Gardeners' Question Time.

'He was well – and in full flow. He was a handsome man and a very big presence.

'There was no sign at all of anything wrong – so his death on New Year's Eve comes as a very big and unwelcome shock.

'Everyone on the programme and his millions of fans will miss him hugely.'

Mr Damazer said the father-of-three, who lived in County Down with his 66-year-old wife Wilma, was 'a brilliantly knowledgeable panellist'.

He added: 'His answers – delivered in that instantly recognisable Northern Ireland brogue – were, of course, always informed – but they were laced with acerbic wit and warmth.'

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