AddThis SmartLayers

Elephant crash editor is remembered by former colleagues

A former editor of the Tiverton Gazette has died at his home in Cornwall at the age of 92.

Wilfred Tonkin is remembered with great affection by those who lived and worked with him.

He started work at the Gazette straight out of school before the Second World War.

After the war, Wilf became a sub-editor and then took over as editor after the death of Reggie Young.

Former Gazette reporter Colin Richey said: “I worked for a number of newspapers and editors over the years but, in terms of knowing what his public wanted, Wilf Tonkin was streets ahead of any of them.”

Former deputy editor, Archie Buckingham, remembered how Wilf used to cycle into the Gazette from his home in Bampton where his father was a police sergeant.

Then he acquired a motorcycle and one morning failed to turn up for work.

Archie said: “There was a circus on in Tiverton and the elephants and giraffes were walking in the road. Wilf came round a corner and ran straight into an elephant.

“He was so surprised that he came off and had to be taken to hospital but fortunately it was nothing serious.”

Wilf, who retired in 1980, never married. He spent his final months in a care home in Penzance.

You can add your memories of Wilfred at Lasting Tribute.