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Regional title’s former owner dies at 86

The former owner of a regional daily newspaper has died at the age of 86.

Captain OWJ Henderson, known as Bill, was chairman and managing director of Century Newspapers which published Belfast’s News Letter from 1959 to 1991 when it was sold.

His family owned the title, which was founded in 1737, for almost two centuries from 1804 until it moved into new ownership.

Capt Henderson died after a short illness last week and his funeral was held on Wednesday.

He served in the Irish Guards during the Second World War before joining the News Letter in 1947, holding a number of roles before becoming managing director in 1959 – the sixth generation of his family to hold the position.

Capt Henderson was also founding director of Ulster Television where his brother was the managing director.

He was involved in many industry and business organisations and was the founder member of the Young Newspaper’s Association, chairman of the Belfast Newspaper Society and a Northern Ireland Council member of the Newspaper Society.

Capt Henderson was also a member of the Ulster Unionist Party and was an MP in the Stormont Parliament for five years in the 1950s.

The News Letter is now owned by Johnston Press.

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  • October 29, 2010 at 11:30 am

    It was only after Bill Henderson had sold off the News Letter and (now defunct) Sunday News that most of us working on the titles fully appreciated what a good employer he had been. In spite of their superior financial and technical resources, not one of the subsequent owners has succeeded in matching the quality of journalism and healthy circulation figures that had been the norm throughout ‘the Captain’s’ time.

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