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Award winning Yorkshire journalist dies aged 69

An award winning Yorkshire journalist who wrote a squash column for 40 years has died aged 69.

Fred Willis, pictured left, passed away on Sunday 29 May  folllowing an illness.

His squash colulmn in the Yorkshire Evening Post earnt him recognition from the English Squash and Racketball Association in Manchester for his outstanding contribution to sport.

Fred also worked for The Northern Echo in the early part of his career. He then moved to the Evening News on Trinity Street, Leeds and after receiving glowing references moved to the Yorkshire Evening Post 17 months later where he worked until retiring following a biking accident in 1996.

He leaves behind wife Maragaret, children Helen and Richard, as well as four grandchildren,

Said Helen: “He had a bad biking accident which forced him to retire but I think the word retirement should be in inverted commas as he then took up freelance writing.

“He was a fit and healthy guy who used to go running up until he was poorly and it has been a rapid decline over the last few months but at least he has had a peaceful end.”

During his time at the YEP, Willis was a reporter, sub-editor, news editor and finally assistant editor. He continued freelancing following his retirement and was revered for his coverage of tennis and squash as well as football.

His funeral will take place on the afternoon of Friday 10 June  at St Mark’s Church on Leeds Road, Harrogate.
His ashes are likely to be scattered on Gallows Hill Moor near Grewelthorpe, where he wished to eventually live.