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Tributes to national newsman turned weekly sub

A news sub-editor who went to work for local papers after a distinguished career on the nationals has died aged 87.

Ron Burdett, left, spent nearly two decades on the London Evening News when its circulation at one staged topped a half-a-million.

He left the paper following its 1980 merger with the London Evening Standard – but was unable to stay away from journalism for long.

Instead he went to work for local publications near his Hertfordshire home, including the Enfield Gazette, and did not finally retire from the industry until the age of 74.

Born in North London, Ron joined the RAF during the Second World War and volunteered to become a bomber pilot, although he was thwarted in his desire for active service by the arrival of VE Day.

Without any formal training as a journalist, he joined Westminster Press and then had spells on The Daily Sketch, Daily Mail and did regular shifts on The Sunday Telegraph before arriving at the Evening News in the early 1960s.

Said former colleague Peter Shrubb: “Ron thrived in the intense atmosphere at the News during circulation wars with the Evening Standard, whether as a rewrite sub, swiftly fashioning a front page splash, or a copy-taster sifting through torrents of paper from three international news agencies as well as PA.

“He loved the job and his sense of mission was uncompromising, aware as he was of the paper’s enormous circulation and dominance in the capital during the 1960s and 70s.”

Ron also served for some years as the National Union of Journalists’ father of chapel at the Evening News and did his best to help colleagues find jobs during the Standard merger.

He is survived by his four children and his former wife.