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Monday, April 26, 1999 Published at 20:49 GMT 21:49 UK


Public shock and sadness at Jill Dando's death

Jill Dando 1961 - 1999
Her Majesty the Queen, the Prime Minister and many other leading public figures said they were stunned and saddened by the death of BBC presenter Jill Dando. It was a measure of her all-round popularity that tributes flowed from the highest in the land as well as from the viewing public who took Jill to their hearts.

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The Queen
She was "shocked and saddened" at news of Miss Dando's death.

Through a spokesman, Her Majesty said Miss Dando had helped the Duke of York to promote the Fight for Sight charity, of which he is patron.

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Prime Minister Tony Blair
He was "deeply shocked", and said he found her "totally charming and hugely talented".

Jack Straw, Home Secretary:
"Jill Dando was somebody who was known to virtually everybody in this country, if not personally. She was somebody who was at the height of her powers.

"She had done a huge amount personally in the fight against crime by her role, not least in Crimewatch UK. Therefore, this makes her death all the more poignant.

"I'm sure I speak for the whole of the House when I say our deepest sympathy goes to her family and friends at the time of this terrible, tragic and appalling loss."

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Nigel Dando, Miss Dando's brother:
"We shall remember Jill as a devoted daughter and as a loving sister. It is simply unimaginable why anyone would want to end her life in this tragic way."

William Hague, Conservative Party leader:
"I am shocked and horrified by this senseless and brutal murder.

"Our first thoughts are with Jill's family on this tragic day. Jill Dando made a great contribution to popular broadcasting. She will be missed by millions."

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Paddy Ashdown, Liberal Democrat leader:
"Jill Dando was a hugely popular broadcaster. "It is a terrible irony that, after all her work defending the victims of crime and help in pursuing criminals, she should fall victim herself to a horrific crime. Her family and friends have my sympathy."

Stewart Purvis, ITN Chief Executive
"Everyone at ITN is completely shocked and appalled at this dreadful tragedy. Jill had many friends at ITN and she was always held in the highest regard as a great news professional and a deservedly popular broadcaster. Our sympathy goes out to her family and colleagues."

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Sophie Rhys-Jones, a friend of Ms Dando:
Her spokesman said: She was "deeply shocked and upset at the news of her death. Her heart and prayers are with Miss Dando's family at this time".

Lord Archer, Former Conservative Party chairman
"I knew her well. We were both from Weston-super-Mare and she was a tremendously warm and lovely person. It's just unbelievable that something like this has happened to someone who had so much of her life ahead of her."

Leslie Fake, chairman of a charity she was patron of, Weston Hospicecare
"When she came to the hospice, she was extraordinary in her ordinariness. She would always find time to listen to anybody and talk to anybody and with the patients she was just marvellous.

"I have known her come down from London to Weston and come into the patients unit and sit and talk to patients. She was truly a Christian lady."

"In all her dealings she remained modest, charming and unassuming. Jill was Weston's favourite daughter and will be greatly missed."

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