Tributes to Murray Walker – F1 commentator and New Forest resident whose work with Beaulieu's National Motor Museum goes back 60 years
LORD Montagu has paid tribute to Formula 1 racing commentator and New Forest resident Murray Walker – who died at the weekend aged 97 – revealing that his links to the National Motor Museum go back 60 years.
Legendary Murray’s father Graham, a motorcycle racer, helped curate the motorcycle section of the museum in the late 1950s, Lord Montagu told the A&T, and during his lifetime the BBC broadcaster became a friend of the family.
Murray was himself a motorcycle racer in his early years, and it remained one of the great loves of his life.
In a statement, Lord Montagu said: “Murray’s connections with Beaulieu go back to the late 1950s when my father asked his father Graham to curate the motorcycle section of the fast-expanding Montagu Motor Museum.
“Whilst Murray was working in the advertising industry at the time, he became a friend of the Montagu family and continued to support the motor museum long after the death of his father.
“His enthusiasm for the history of motorcycle racing never left him, and in 2014 he opened a new motorcycle display at the museum, The Motorcycle Story, perpetuating an association which spanned 60 years.
“We shall miss him and will think of him, especially on the day of the Graham Walker Memorial run for motorcycles built before December 1940 which takes place every year to commemorate his father.”
Born in Birmingham, Murray moved with wife Elizabeth to a 13-acre estate complete with trout farm in Saddleheath, near Fordingbridge, at the age of 59 after he retired from advertising, which at the time was his full-time job.
He loved the Forest and was a regular at the Three Lions Pub in Stuckton, and was also a member of Chewton Glen hotel’s health club for many years.
One gym-goer told how he once bumped into Murray at the hotel saying: “I heard his distinctive high-octane voice as I entered the changing room, and there he was in his underpants talking F1 to the janitor.”
Murray liked to involve himself in local activities, once commentating on a charity pig race in the village of Damerham.
His first F1 grand prix commentary was in 1976, and by the time he retired in 2001 he had covered more than 350.
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton led tributes from present and former drivers following his death tweeting: “So sad to hear of Murray’s passing. I remember growing up hearing your voice over the races. You made the sport so much more exciting and captivating. The iconic voice of our sport and a great man, thank you for all you did, you will never be forgotten.”
Former racing driver and Murray’s commentating partner at one time, Martin Brundle, said: “Wonderful man in every respect. National treasure, communication genius, Formula One legend.”
A tweet from Formula 1 read: “It was never work to Murray, it was never just commentating, it was simply telling the world about something he loved” while BBC Sport paid tribute by saying: “The chequered flag may have been waved for the final time, but he’ll always be remembered.”