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Tributes paid to former weekly editor

A former newspaper editor and well respected journalist who worked for the same company for 40 years has died at the age of 81.

Former Oxford Times editor Peter Sykes died on Monday after a short illness.

He began life in journalism on the Huddersfield Examiner before moving south to Oxford in the mid-1950s.

Having been a news reporter and theatre critic at Newsquest title the Oxford Mail, Mr Sykes became the paper’s news editor and then moved across to edit the Oxford Times between 1988 and the mid-1990s.

A jazz lover, he formed the Peter Sykes Big Band and played in a smaller ensemble called Edge, and later in life composed pieces for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Derek Holmes, the last editor of the Oxford Times, said: “I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Peter Sykes back in 1990 and to be taken on as a reporter in Oxford.

“Peter was part of a generation of journalists that spent virtually the whole of their working lives at the Oxford Mail and the Oxford Times.

“There were plenty of talented characters around at that time, of whom Peter was one.”

Former Oxford Mail editor Eddie Duller said: “Peter Sykes was meticulous in everything he did and the result was a thoughtfully edited newspaper that consistently won prestigious prizes within the newspaper industry for the quality of its news and features content and for visual impact.

“He always insisted that reports were accurate and fair and was a stickler for detail. His knowledge of the arts and music was extensive and under his editorship the coverage of the Oxford arts scene expanded, much to the delight of the readers of the Oxford Times.

“He was greatly respected by many journalists who worked as part of his team and who are now household names.”

Peter was married to wife Irene for 57 years and they had twins Christopher and Melanie, and three grandchildren.

His funeral will be held at Oxford Crematorium on Monday 26 September at 11.15am.