A NUMBER of Wirral bands have paid tribute to broadcaster and DJ Janice Long who died at home on Christmas Day following a short illness.

The Liverpool-born radio presenter became a trailblazer as the first woman to have her own daily show on Radio 1 and the first regular female presenter on Top Of The Pops.

During her 40-year career, she helped launch the careers of future stars including Amy Winehouse, Adele and The Smiths, and led coverage of major music events such as Live Aid.

She was always a major champion of Merseyside artists which has been reflected in the warm tributes from the likes of Echo and the Bunnymen, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Pete Wylie.

Writing on Twitter, Hoylake band The Coral, said: "Sad to hear the news about Janice Long passing. She was great to us and like the best broadcasters, talking to her was always easy, like catching up with a friend. RIP Janice."

The Coral's keyboardist Nick Power, wrote: "Gutted to hear about Janice Long passing. Lucky enough to have been a guest on her radio shows since I was about 20. She’d get in touch personally half the time, and know more about the book or album I was promoting than I did.

"And the interviews were always great. She’d always shed light on the art while having a laugh (that unforgettable laugh) at the fun and absurdity of it all. She was kind and brilliant. RIP."

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark frontman Andy McCluskey said: "So very sad to hear of the the death of Janice Long. Amazing lady, great friend, music lover and champion. A pioneering female DJ who opened many doors for others. I will miss you so much Janice. All my love and sympathies to your family."

Seatbelts wrote: "Truly saddened to learn about the passing of Janice Long. We always loved talking to her on and off air. This is how we remember Janice: big coat, big hat, mic in hand telling stories, asking questions and laughing. A true legend - all our love to her family and friends."

Her agent Nigel Forsyth said in a statement: "Janice was a wonderful, warm human being and exceptional broadcaster.

"She told a brilliant story and always made you roar with laughter with her sharp wit. She will leave behind her husband Paul and two children, who she thought the world of.

"Janice loved the BBC and started her career as a station assistant at BBC Radio Merseyside in 1979, to complete it with the magnificent people at BBC Radio Wales.

"Janice wanted it known she was so thankful to the NHS and all who looked after her there."