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Tributes to journalist who helped launch daily

A former journalist who played a key role in launching a now-established regional daily title has died aged 88.

Gordon Riley, who passed away on Saturday following a long illness, was the launch news editor of the Shropshire Star when it was set up as a distinct title from the Express and Star in 1964.

Originally from Shrewsbury, Gordon, pictured left, began his journalism career at the age of 15 on the Wellington Journal and Shrewsbury News.

He became the chief reporter and together with his colleague Russell Mulford, who was the chief reporter for the Shrewsbury Chronicle’s Wrekin edition, they covered the news in the Wrekin area throughout the 1950s.

Said Russell: “He was the most prominent journalist in Shropshire in the post-war years and used to cover the six local authorities of the time.”

He said Mr Riley was so well thought of that if he was running late for a council meeting the councillors would delay the start for him.

“They were very exciting times as together we covered all the major stories in Shropshire. He was a very talented journalist.”

Gordon’s daughter Claire Riley-Walshe added: “He was a true gentleman, a very proud man and a great dad. He taught me a lot.”

After his stint as news editor for the Shropshire Star, Gordon later worked as the chief information officer for the Telford Development Corporation before he retired.

He then worked as a freelance writer, continuing to supply reviews for his old paper, and was a leading light in charity work for Shrewsbury Hospital.