AddThis SmartLayers

'Outstanding journalist' dies after short illness

Former regional press editor and national newspaper director Jim Neil has died aged 70 following a short illness.

The brother of former Sunday Times editor and broadcaster Andrew Neil, Jim started his 43-year journalism career with the Paisley Daily Press in 1954 as a print room labourer.

The following year he was given a trainee reporter’s job after which he worked his way up through the title, taking in roles such as court reporter, industrial correspondent, council reporter, deputy editor and then six years as editor in the 1970s.

He became a company director and managing editor with the Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette series before joining the Sunday Times Scotland in 1989 as news editor.

A year later he was promoted to the role of managing director of the Sunday Times’ parent company News International Newspapers (Scotland) which he did until retirement in 1996.

Away from the newsroom, Jim was a keen local politician and served as a member of Paisley Town Council and Renfrew District Council.

He was also made a lifetime Justice of the Peace in 1974, having served as a Paisley Burgh Magistrate, and an honorary national vice-president of the Newspaper Press Fund.

In a lengthy tribute piece, current Paisley Daily Express editor Anne Dalrymple wrote: “Jim was an outstanding journalist and a lovely person…..a true gentleman.

“He was proud of his association with the Paisley Daily Express and retained his links with the newspaper long after he had moved on to pastures new.

“Jim would regularly call our newsroom to pass on stories or just to offer some words of praise and support or guidance. It was always a pleasure to hear from him.”

  • Jim died last Thursday at a hospice in Paisley. He is survived by his wife Maureen, sons Drew and Colin, brother Andrew and three grandchildren, and his funeral took place today in Paisley. You can leave your memories of Jim at Lasting Tribute or in the comments below.