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Sue Baker dies, aged 67, after battle with motor neurone disease

Sue Baker, one of the original Top Gear presenters, has died after a battle with motor neurone disease – with wellwishers paying tribute to her for ‘blazing a trail’ for women in the world of racing. 

Baker, who joined the BBC series in 1980 when it was in its old format, died on Monday surrounded by her family, her spokesman said. 

The presenter appeared in 22 series of the show from 1980, with her role eventually supplanted by motormouth Jeremy Clarkson

Sue Baker (pictured), one of the original Top Gear presenters when the BBC show would actually review new cars, has died after a battle with motor neurone disease

'She died at home this morning with family around her,' confirms a spokesman for the journalist, who blazed a trail for women in motoring (pictured in 1974)

‘She died at home this morning with family around her,’ confirms a spokesman for the journalist, who blazed a trail for women in motoring (pictured in 1974)

After leaving Top Gera in 1991, Baker continued her career as a motoring journalist. 

She set up and ran the Motor Racing News Service, based at Brands Hatch in Kent, and was the Observer’s motoring editor for 13 years, leaving in 1999. 

She also had a stint as a freelancer for Saga magazine. 

Baker’s spokesman said yesterday: ‘She died at home this morning with family around her.

‘Sue was a talented and prolific writer, a charismatic TV presenter and a passionate animal lover.’

Meanwhile, her family said: ‘It is with great sadness, that we share the news of Sue’s passing. 

‘A doting mother to Ian and Hannah, a loving grandmother to Tom and George, and a wonderful mother-in-law to Lucy. She passed at home this morning with family around her.

‘She was a talented and prolific writer, a charismatic TV presenter, and a passionate animal lover. 

Sharing news of her death, Baker's family called her 'a talented and prolific writer, a charismatic TV presenter, and a passionate animal lover'. She is seen in 2018

Sharing news of her death, Baker’s family called her ‘a talented and prolific writer, a charismatic TV presenter, and a passionate animal lover’. She is seen in 2018

Baker at Brands Hatch with Niki Lauda when she was a motoring correspondent for a newspaper

Baker at Brands Hatch with Niki Lauda when she was a motoring correspondent for a newspaper 

‘She had a life and career that many would envy, but did it all with such grace that she was admired and respected by all who knew her. We know she meant so much to so many.

‘Thank you to everyone who has supported her over the last few years as she battled with MND.’

Tributes have poured in from other journalists, who praised Baker for ‘blazing a trail for women’. 

Geraldine Herbert, motoring editor for the Sunday Independent in Ireland, tweeted: ‘I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Sue Baker. 

‘She was a wonderful person, a brilliant journalist, and a dear friend. 

‘A former Top Gear presenter and motoring editor at the Observer, she blazed a trail for women in a man’s world.’ 

Baker (pictured with Tony Frost in 1972) appeared in 22 series of the show from 1980, with her role eventually supplanted by motormouth Jeremy Clarkson

Baker (pictured with Tony Frost in 1972) appeared in 22 series of the show from 1980, with her role eventually supplanted by motormouth Jeremy Clarkson

The Guild of Motoring Writers said: ‘We are deeply saddened to learn our vice-president and former chair, @carscribe Sue Baker, passed away this morning following a long illness.

‘Sue was a pioneer for women in automotive journalism and a former presenter of @BBC_TopGear. A full tribute will be published later.’

Motoring journalist Alex Grant said: ‘Sue was an absolute pleasure on events, and so welcoming and approachable as an industry newbie. My condolences to her family, she will be sorely missed.’ 

Writer Matt Bishop described Baker as a ‘pioneer’.

He said: ‘This is very sad. Sue Baker was a pioneer among motoring journalists who was very friendly to me when I was a newcomer on car launches & the like.’ 

Baker's family thanked everyone who had supported her as she battled motor neurone disease

Baker’s family thanked everyone who had supported her as she battled motor neurone disease 

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