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Former colleagues' tributes to freelance sub-editor

Former colleagues of the West Midlands-based freelance sub-editor Gerard ‘Ged’ Phelan who died earlier this month have paid tribute to a true “old school” journalist.

Ged, 58, was found dead at his home in Bewdley, Worcestershire, and his funeral was held last week.

He freelanced for the Kidderminster Shuttle among other titles and was a former editor of the North Devon Advertiser.

Lynette Lloyd, a former Express and Star sub-editor, said she first met Ged at journalism college in Darlington back in the 1970s.

“He quickly made his mark as an intelligent and personable man of integrity – a value he carried right through his working life,” she said.

“Ged was old school, without falling into the trap of becoming a ‘dinosaur’ – the sort of editor who mentored his juniors, instilling into them the real values he held so dearly, and he never lost sight of the people who matter in the business of journalism – the readers.”

She added: “He had a mischievous sense of humour. He loved playing pranks and once visited me in the early hours of the morning, on my honeymoon, to deliver his wedding present, a frozen chicken.

“I’ll miss him, and his sense of humour and integrity. He was one of that rare breed; a gentleman in every sense of the word.”

Freelance journalist Caroline Curd added: “Ged gave me my first break in journalism back in the early 90s on the North Devon Advertiser.

“As a naive 19-year-old with no journalism training, he took me by the hand and taught me how to write a good intro, what made a front page story and later the ins and outs of page design.

“He was the first person on the phone to congratulate me when I landed my first editorship, and I shall always remember him with the greatest respect and admiration, and as the sort of journalist I’ll always aspire to be.”

An inquest has been opened and adjourned by Worcestershire Coroner. It is not believed there are any suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.


Richard Green (02/11/2009 15:46:22)
Ged went out on limb when he gave me my first chance in journalism. I was an unqualified rookie in every sense but he saw something at my interview and I got a three month trial.
Strictly speaking I am still on trial, neither Ged or his successor at Lendan, who produced the Wolverhampton Ad News and Chase Post series in the 80s, ever told me the trial was over!
I stayed in the profession for 20 years until recent redundancy, working up to a Group Features Editor role at CIN. It was a journey I could not have made if Ged hadn’t taken that first chance on me – I will always be grateful to him for that.
God bless him, may his soul rest in eternal peace.