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Review of 2010: Those we have lost

Every year has its goodbyes and the past 12 months once again saw the journalistic profession bid farewell to some of its most distinguished figures, including three former regional daily editors.

As the old year ends, we conclude our ‘Review of the Year’ series with 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 friends and colleagues.

John Abberley

Stoke Sentinel columnist who lost battle with cancer

“As a columnist, he was both an editor’s dream and a nightmare. His articles would shine with astute appraisal one day and rampant partiality the next.” – Sean Dooley, former editor, The Sentinel

Steve Bostock

Freelance sports photographer who died after covering match

“Whenever we needed a freelancer to cover a job, Steve was top of the list – dependable, keen and accurate in his work.” – Richard Partington, sports editor, Rochdale Observer

Harry Bremner

One-paper journalist who had road named after him

“He was a walking reference book: he knew everyone and everything about the area. ‘Ask Harry’ was an oft-used phrase in the office, even after he retired.” – Pauline Taylor, former editor, Northern Scot

Stephen Chambers

Former head of accreditation at the NCTJ

“He believed passionately in the importance of journalism standards and loved giving back to the cherished trade that had provided him with so much over the years.” – Joanne Butcher, chief executive, NCTJ

Frank Chapman

Former weekly group editor who died walking his dog

“He had an incredible knowledge of the local area and a remained a key part of the newsroom, many of the reporters looking to him for advice on particular stories.” – Ian Read, editor, Kent and Sussex Courier

Harry Conroy

Former general secretary of the National Union of Journalists

“Harry will be remembered by generations of journalists as a powerful advocate for improved pay and conditions and media freedom.” – Jeremy Dear, general secretary, NUJ

Alan Cooper

Founder of press agency West Riding News Service

“Alan kept a cool, calm head even when deadline was approaching at breakneck speed. He taught me a great deal.” – Nicola Megson, editor, Derbyshire Times

Frank Curran

Former editor who spent nearly 70 years in journalism

“Frank Curran always remained a voice of reason and a source of optimism, even in the darkest of days. He will be best remembered as an esteemed editor of the Derry Journal.” – John Hume, former leader, SDLP

Mark Gale

Theatre critic who spent 60 years on weekly title

“His writing should have earned him a job on the nationals but he was not ambitious and loved his job here so much he never moved on. He still came in two days a week after retirement without pay to file copy because he loved writing.” – Phil Dennett, senior reporter, Mid-Sussex Times

Jack Godfrey

Former sports editor whose career began in 1931

“He always stuck by the good sporting principles of honesty, commitment and fair play – values that were also key elements of his long and distinguished journalistic career. He was meticulous on the facts of any story, no matter how big or small..” – Paul Ricketts, sports editor, Worcester News

Katie Haines

Former reporter who fell victim to carbon monoxide poisoning

“Katie was one of the best trainee reporters to have worked at the Watford Observer.” – Peter Leary-Wilson, group editor, Watford Observer

Rupert Hamer

Former Eastern Daily Press reporter killed in Afghanistan while working for the Sunday Mirror

“He was a fine, fearless, and skilled writer who joined the paper 12 years ago. Affectionately known as Corporal Hamer in the office, he was a gregarious figure, a wonderful friend who was hugely popular with his colleagues.” – Tina Weaver, editor, Sunday Mirror

Richard Harrison

Court reporter who earned tribute from judge

“The judiciary rely on the integrity of the press to report cases and in particular the judge’s remarks fairly and faithfully…..Richard Harrison was a reporter whose reporting was always accurate, always fair and always faithful to the facts.” – Judge John Neligan, Exeter Crown Court

Martin Jackson

Business writer who dictated final column from his hospital bed

“We are so honoured that Martin thought so much of Kent Business that he was so determined to complete his final column. Martin was a towering figure in Kent’s media scene.” – Trevor Sturgess, business editor, KM Group

Joe Kelly

Editor-in-chief at Scottish and Universal Newspapers

“Joe was a terrific character who took great pride in his work and our papers. He was also a talented journalist and extremely able manager who has left an indelible mark on the company.” – Bill Steven, managing director, S&UN

Patrick Lavelle

Journalist renowned for his pursuit of hoaxer Wearside Jack

“Patrick was a stubborn bugger. He wouldn’t give up – like a dog with a bone – and that’s what made him stand out from other journalists. I’ll remember him as a great journalist and a down to earth person.” – Peter Barron, editor, Northern Echo

John Lees

Sub-editor of the ‘old school’

“John took me under his wing and taught me some invaluable – and often harsh – lessons about newspaper production. He was a proper sub. If you wanted a splash turned around on deadline, John was your man” – Kevin Ward, editor, Worcester News

Dick Mallinson

Huddersfield Daily Examiner editor in the early 90s

“Richard Mallinson was a journalist through and through, who cared deeply about local newspapers in general and the Examiner in particular. He loved nothing more than getting hold of a story about a local issue and using the columns of the Examiner to take up the fight.” – Neil Atkinson, head of news, Huddersfield Daily Examiner

Andrew Midgley

Pop star turned regional daily sub-editor

“Andrew was a thoroughly professional journalist but more importantly a great guy and a popular colleague.” – Tom Little, editor, Edinburgh Evening News

Terry Morgan

Former local press reporter found dead aged 40

“A larger than life character who was the face of the Bury Times to many people in the town. He knew the area inside out.” – Steve Orrell, news editor, Bury Times

Keith Parker

Respected former editor and MD of the Express and Star

“Keith was a giant of the regional newspaper industry. He will be remembered by many editors and journalists for his uncompromising attitude to press freedom, ready wit and good humour.” – Bob Satchwell, executive director, Society of Editors

John Reavenall

Brum Post and Mail photographer hailed as ‘one of the best’

“He was a wonderful gentleman and photographer, particularly at cricket and rugby, but an all-round great diary photographer. He went through so many transitions in photojournalism, and he took it all in his stride.” – Alan Williams, former Post and Mail colleague

Gordon Riley

Journalist who helped found Shropshire Star

“He was the most prominent journalist in Shropshire in the post-war years and used to cover the six local authorities of the time. They were very exciting times.” – Russell Mulford, former Shrewsbury Chronicle colleague

Deirdre Romanes

Chief executive of Dunfermline Press

“Deirdre was an outstanding businesswoman who over the last 25 years built the business to where it is today as a significant group of newspapers.” – Donald McDonald, chairman, Dunfermline Press

Alan Ruddock

Former Scotsman editor taken ill playing cricket

“Alan Ruddock was a fine editor of The Scotsman, an instinctive journalist with a keen eye for political and business stories. He steered the paper at a crucial time for Scotland and had a natural feel for the issues facing the country.” – John McLellan, editor, The Scotsman

Angus Shaw

Centenarian former journalist who reported on the invention of TV

“Everything he did was carried out with a calm assurance. Never did I see him ruffled, even on deadline at the height of the circulation wars of the sixties and seventies. His leadership was inspirational and it brought its rewards in full.” – John Quinn, former editor, Glasgow Evening Times

Charlotte Taylor

Weekly reporter who lost battle with cancer aged 50

“Apart from her superb professionalism and her love for her family, the thing we shall always remember about Charlotte was her schoolgirl giggle which lit up the newsroom many times.” – Phil Dennett, senior reporter, Mid Sussex Times

Frank Warner

Local press editor who went on to become major figure in journalism training

“Frank was an excellent trainer who believed in high standards of journalism. His lasting legacy is the hundreds of journalists he trained to a very high standard.” – Bill Wood, former senior examiner, NCTJ