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Review of 2009: Those we have lost

No year is without its goodbyes – and this year the journalistic profession bade farewell to some of its most distinguished figures.

Here is a selection of the obituaries we have featured on HoldtheFrontPage over the past 12 months, along with some of the heartfelt tributes that have been paid by colleagues, friends and family.

Brian Barron, 69
BBC star who started out on West Country daily

“Simply the most distinguished BBC correspondent of our age.”
– Jon Williams, editor of BBC World News

Frank Branston, 71
Town mayor and free newspaper pioneer

“Frank had his own sense of purpose and strong moral editorial values. He will be sorely missed in local newspapers, local politics and local life.”
– Mike Richardson, managing director of LSN Media

Mervyn Clift, 91
Photographer who survived Dunkirk

“Mervyn was the archetypal tough photojournalist, but he was always willing to show newcomers the way to a scoop.”
– Jo Barber, Gloucester Citizen reporter

Ian Craig, 64
MEN lobby man who interviewed five Prime Ministers

“A credit to his profession and to Manchester. A very talented journalist and a true gentleman.”
– Tony Blair, former Prime Minister

Tony Donnelly, 58
Former regional daily news editor who met untimely end

“An old style reporter, always sticking his nose in and trying to get any information he could. He liked a good book and a pint.”
– Alan Booth, Mayor of Evesham

Patrick Hannan, 68
Broadcaster and doyen of Welsh journalists

“A brilliant lateral thinker – formidably clever and formidably knowledgeable over a huge range of topics.”
– Mark Damazer, controller of BBC Radio 4

Peter Hewitt, 76
Football writer who covered Stoke City’s glory days

“We called him ‘Scoop’ and would often have a laugh with Peter. He was a really nice guy.”
– Gordon Banks, 1966 World Cup-winning goalie

Bill Jolly, 86
‘Towering figure’ in Midlands journalism

“A powerful figure when the Express and Star was achieving its biggest-ever circulation.”
– Keith Parker, former MD and editor of the Express and Star

Neville Keithley, 47
Former Archant MD who advertised himself for work

“When Nev advertised himself in The Daily Telegraph as a managing director looking for a job it was a great example of his innovative approach to life.”
– John Hooker, Archant London publishing director

Simon Meeks, 50
Sheffield sports reporter who lost battle with cancer

“Everybody was humbled by Simon’s fortitude over the past few months and we will all miss him.”
– Bob Westerdale, assistant editor of the Sheffield Star

Derek Millward, 80
Photographer to the stars

“Photography was his life. As far back as I can remember he always had a camera with him wherever we went.”
– Sophie Millward, daughter

Pat Newton, 84
First female reporter in the Press Gallery

“Our parents were trailblazers, and as we grew older our mother’s quiet determination was a source of inspiration and great pride.”
– Daughter Francesca and son Tom

Roger Nicholson, 77
Boss of what was Britain’s biggest regional newspaper company

“He was a fine executive in the best tradition of the newspaper industry.”
– Alan Scott, managing director of Aberdeen Journals

Russell Reid, 73
Sunday Post editor who spent 50 years in local newspapers

“He brought forthright views from Scotland developed from years of experience.”
– Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors

Mike Slingsby, 60
Agency court reporter whose opinion was sought by judges

“In any case reported by him, one could be sure not just that he got the facts right, but that he got the tone right too.”
– Andrew Gilbart, Recorder of Manchester

Carol Trewin, 56
Food and farming writer for the Western Morning News

“Carol had an unrivalled passion and enthusiasm for Westcountry food and worked tirelessly to promote the benefits of thinking and buying local.”
– Alan Qualtrough, editor of the Western Morning News

David Vine, 73
Broadcasting all-rounder who started out on Devon weekly

“A wonderfully versatile presenter for BBC Sport – it’s a tribute to his abilities that he was associated with so many events.”
– Roger Mosey, director of BBC Sport

Bob Warren, 73
Chairman of the Journalists’ Charity

“His term as chairman coincided with the completion and opening of the new care home. His counsel and determination to help his fellow journalists will be missed.”
– David Ilott, director of the Journalists’ Charity

Eddie Wickes, 100
Former telegraphist who reached his century

” He was just a really quiet man who got on and did things. He was 100 years old and had a good life.”
– Jim Wickes, son

Richard Woolley, 26
Tenacious reporter who succumbed to leukaemia

“A talented and tenacious reporter with a dry wit which could always be relied on to lift the newsroom in times of stress. We miss him very, very much.”
– Amanda Hatfield, group editor, Matlock Mercury


hackette (30/12/2009 10:23:29)
We all moan about the sorry state of the industry (and rightly so) but your reminder of the death of Richard Woolley at 26 and all the other good people lost too early puts things into perspective.
A sad but respectful piece from HTFP.
Happy New Year.