At the end of October, Julie Donaldson, a multi award-winning radio presenter, passed away at James Cook Hospital due to Covid. The Tees lost a legend.

Julie is probably best known for hosting the midweek breakfast show on Zetland FM. She has been a “hugely valued colleague and friend” of the station since it started just over five years ago. She herself stated “there’s absolutely nothing quite like doing live radio” and that was evident from her lively presence every morning, rain or shine.

Julie’s friendly and easy-going manner put guests at ease whilst at the studio. More recently Julie did interviews via the phone whilst she was working from home with her husband John. The couple were married in August and all at The Tees Online are thinking of John at this incredibly difficult time.

At the heart of all Julie did was the community. She enthusiastically covered almost every topic imaginable from adoption and diets to National Chocolate Week, technology and more. Julie sourced and booked the guests herself to ensure a whole range of topics were covered. Her skills were acknowledged in the Community Radio Awards where she was awarded 2018 Gold and 2017 Bronze Female Presenter of the Year. Her show was shortlisted as the Best Local Radio Show by the Radio Academy ARIAS in 2018.

Julie was and shall remain an inspiration to many. She put her own Masters level qualifications to good use outside of the studio by teaching live radio, radio production and radio drama to undergraduates, in addition to being the training co-ordinator at Zetland.

Julie also sat on The Inspiring Women in Redcar and Cleveland steering group and was co-founder of the North East Foundation for Women in Enterprise. Her work supporting others was recognised in 2018 as Inspiring Others Award Runner up at the Tees Valley Businesswomen Awards and winner of the Redcar and Cleveland Inspiring Women Award.

Off air, Julie was very visible in the community, presenting awards to others and guest speaking at many events including the Cleveland Police Staff Awards and the RCVDA Volunteer Awards. Julie has even switched on the Christmas Lights at Redcar and Saltburn.

Julie’s voice and words can be heard well beyond the Tees from her international voiceovers, freelance writing and training. Julie also featured on three of the four episodes of the BAFTA nominated documentary, The Mighty Redcar.

Julie said, “The voice can DO so much and BE so much more than the visual, it can draw people in.“ She certainly achieved this in so many ways.

Julie gave her time to so many good causes and groups, far more than listed here. I am sure there will be many tributes from them in the next few days and weeks.

Julie’s loss will be felt deeply throughout the Tees and beyond. Goodbye Julie, the world feels less bright now you are gone.

Zetland FM will pay tribute to Julie in a special programme on Monday morning (2nd November) from 8am.


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