AddThis SmartLayers

Reporter loses cancer battle months after retiring

A former reporter who spent nearly 40 years at a weekly newspaper has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 57, just months after retiring.

Noel Perry, left, joined the West Briton in 1974 at the age of 18 and remained there until ill health forced his retirement in February.

He rose to hold a number of other roles, including assistant editor, but returned to his love of reporting for the Helston and Lizard community, earning him the affectionate nickname of ‘Mr Helston’.

Tributes have been paid after he lost his battle with cancer at his home on Tuesday, with his family by his bedside.

In an obituary in the West Briton, editor Richard Best said: “Those who met Noel will have known he was a funny, clever man who sometimes enjoyed playing the curmudgeon, but in reality had kindness and compassion running all the way through him.

“He was a fantastic colleague, we all enjoyed his company and relied on his judgement, steady nature and enormous wealth of local knowledge.

“He was passionate about many things – but most important to him was his family, and our hearts go out to them.”

Sports reporter Rhod Mitchell added: “Noel was great with people, always showing an interest in even the most mundane stories.”

Noel started working at the paper in 1974 when his neighbour was the then editor Max Hodnett, who offered him a reporting job working from Truro.

He married his wife Dee ten years later and moved to her home town of Helston, where he remained working for most of his career.

Noel was also an amateur filmmaker and spent 20 years writing the West Briton’s film page, while also pursuading his colleagues, family and friends to act out spoof James Bond films.

He was a big rugby fan who covered Helston’s trip to Twickenham in a national final and recently received a letter of support from former England player Jonny Wilkinson, who praised him for his “inspirational example of what courage and true strength is all about”.

Colleague Lee Trewhela said: “He really was a gentle giant, who had time and a kind word for everyone.

“He had journalistic integrity with a healthy dose of cynicism and wasn’t afraid to speak up for colleagues or get behind a public campaign.”

“Noel was a simple man. He didn’t like to travel, preferring to stay in his beloved Helston.

“As long as he was with his treasured Dee and children he was happy. His pride in his family was an inspiration to all who knew him.”