Tributes paid to Sue Baker, trailblazing former Top Gear presenter who died aged 67 of motor neurone disease

15 November 2022, 07:47

Sue Baker has died aged 67
Sue Baker has died aged 67. Picture: Family handout

By Kit Heren

Friends and family have paid tribute to Sue Baker, a "feminist icon" former Top Gear presenter who has died after suffering from motor neurone disease.

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Ms Baker joined the BBC motoring show when it launched in 1980, appearing in 100 episodes over 22 series across the next 11 years.

She left Top Gear in 1991, setting up the Motor Racing News Service based at the Brands Hatch race track.

Ms Baker was also the Observer's motoring editor for 13 years, leaving in 1995. She also worked for Saga magazine and as a freelancer.

Sue Baker in her younger years
Sue Baker in her younger years. Picture: Family handout

A former racing driver herself, Ms Baker competed in track races, national-level rallies, in cars like an 1899 Benz, driving from London to Brighton, and in a 2018 hydrogen fuel cell car.

Ms Baker's family said in a statement on Monday night: “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 & George, and a wonderful mother-in-law to Lucy. She passed at home this morning with family around her.

Sue Baker
Sue Baker. Picture: Twitter

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

Sue Baker
Sue Baker. Picture: Women's World Car of the Year

Geraldine Herbert, motoring editor for the Sunday Independent in Ireland, said: “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.”

The Guild of Motoring Writers, of which Baker was the vice-president and a former chair, said they were deeply saddened. “Sue was a pioneer for women in automotive journalism,” they said.

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Her friend Giles Chapman said: "I must echo others on here today in paying tribute to Sue Baker who sadly died today. Proper old school journo yet always kind and generous to colleagues, especially newcomers. A rare trait indeed."

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He added that Ms Baker "should be hailed as a feminist icon - the first woman to become a Fleet Street pro in car journalism" at the Observer.

Motoring journalist Alex Grant said he was "really sorry to hear this. 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."

Ray Massey, motoring editor at the Daily Mail, added: "Very sad to hear the news. Sue was great fun & a fearsome journalist. We shared some real laughs driving together on car launches & at events.

"Wonderful times at #FleetStreetMotoringGroup too. Those are the memories I shall cherish. My thoughts with her family".

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