The former general secretary of the Chartered Institute of Journalists Chris Underwood has died at his home in Walton, Surrey, after a long illness.
Chris, left, began his career as a local newspaper reporter in Surrey before later becoming crime reporter on the Daily Mail during the reign of the notorious Kray Twins.
After moving to the BBC, he served stints in Moscow and Northern Ireland, where he was present at the Bloody Sunday killings in Derry in 1972, and had to be driven away from the scene in the boot of a car to escape anti-British retaliation.
As BBC Home Affairs Correspondent in the 70s and 80s, he covered the arrest and subsequent trial of the Yorkshire Ripper.
Chris joined the CIoJ in 1977, while at the BBC, and helped establish its broadcasting division, in which he later served as chairman.
He became the Institute’s general secretary in 1989, and held the post for 14 years before retiring in 2003.
In his retirement, Chris continued to work as a freelance journalist, including writing for the licensed trade daily the Morning Advertiser – but cricket remained his first priority.
On standing down as CIoJ general secretary, he said: ” I have had a number of offers, some of which are of interest, which will enable me to continue exercising my brain while spending the summer months at Lords or the Oval.”
The Institute’s current Broadcasting Division chairman Paul Leighton, a former BBC colleague, said: “Chris hugely enriched the lives of so many of us, especially me.
“I joined the Institute in 1976, but it was Chris who cajoled, pressed and bullied me into active service at Broadcasting House in London in the early ’80s, and every year thereafter that we worked under the same roof at Portland Place.”