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Jazz-loving former sports editor dies aged 74

A former local press journalist whose passion for jazz saw him brush shoulders with the stars has died aged 74.

Alan Crumpton, left, who spent much of his career with titles in East Anglia, started as a copy boy with the Yorkshire Evening News which closed until 1963.

He worked for the Diss Express, Ipswich-based East Anglian Daily Times, as its Felixstowe reporter, Oldham Chronicle and Plymouth’s Sunday Independent.

He then joined the Suffolk Free Press, in Sudbury, in the 1970s as deputy editor and later worked as sports editor until his retirement in 2001.

Alan was a well known figure in the local area – BBC Radio Suffolk DJ Stephan Foster dedicated a programme to him and local football teams Bury Town and AFC Sudbury held a minute’s silence in his honour before their recent match.

But his passion for jazz music was always strong and it saw him interview stars such as pianist Jamie Callum and singer Jacqui Dankworth.

Following his retirement, Alan wrote about the subject for various publications including the LifeStyle section of the Bury Free Press and took part in programmes on BBC Radio Suffolk.

He was the driving force behind the annual Bures music festival on the Essex/Suffolk boreder, which attracts notable musicians from different genres including jazz and has raised over £100,000 to good causes since its inception in the mid-1990s.

His daughter Leanne said: “My brother Paul said he’d called in to see dad one day and he was on the phone. When Paul asked him who it was, dad simply replied ‘Jamie Cullum in Los Angeles’.

“To us he was just our little dad and granddad but he had this whole other life talking to and meeting these musicians.”

Alan also championed good causes and raised money for local centres for the disabled in north Essex while a group dedicated to his memory has been set up on Facebook, already amassing over 130 members.

Former Suffolk Free Press editor Geoff Brown added: “I’m very sad. He was a good old-fashioned journalist and a real character.

“Everyone who knew him will miss him but they will also smile when they think about him.”

Alan was found dead at his home on Christmas Day and had been suffering with heart problems. He is survived by his children Paul and Leanne, four granddaughters and six great-grandchildren.

  • His funeral takes place at West Suffolk Crematorium, in Bury St Edmunds, on Monday at 12.45pm. Flowers or donations to the charity Diabetes UK in Alan’s memory are requested. You can leave your memories of Alan in the comments below or at Lasting Tribute.