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Former regional journalist loses cancer battle aged 66

A journalist and author who started out as an editorial messenger on a regional daily has died of cancer aged 66.

David Sinclair joined the Northern Echo straight from school at the age of 16 before going on to a career in the national press and abroad.

Before heading to Fleet Street he also worked for the Sunday Sun, Newcastle, the Darlington and Stockton Times and the now-defunct Northern Despatch.

He died from cancer at his home near Canterbury on Friday 11 November.

When David began work as an editorial messenger at the Echo 50 years ago he earned £4 10s a week.

He was promoted to assistant sub-editor on the sports desk at evening paper The Despatch, before being made a junior reporter on the Darlington and Stockton Times.

Mike Amos, who retired as a columnist from the Northern Echo in September, said he briefly worked with David in 1965 at the Northern Despatch.

Said Mike: “When I began in the Northern Despatch in 1965, a wet-eared 18-year-old, Dave was doing show business and stuff and I was in awe of him.”

David went on to work as features editor for the Despatch and then chief sub-editor of the Sunday Sun before landing a job at The Sun after being recruited by Rupert Murdoch.

He went on to enjoy a 30-year national newspaper career, holding senior positions at The Sunday Times, the Times, the Sunday Telegraph and the Sunday Express, where he became deputy editor.

He also spent four years as editor of the Financial Mail on Sunday and spent many years working abroad and was a journalist at the Boston Globe, in the US. He was also involved in producing daily newspapers for UN conferences in Canada, Mexico and Brazil.

He wrote a number of books, including biographies of Edgar Allan Poe, the Queen Mother, Lord Snowdon, the Astor family and George V and George VI.

After writing a book called Shades of Green about the decline of the British countryside he was invited to join the Rural Economy Group of the House of Lords and became a commentator on rural and agricultural policy for the magazine Countryweek.

He is survived by his wife, Amber, children and grandchildren.