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Former regional editor dies suddenly while on holiday

A former regional daily newspaper editor has died of a heart attack while on holiday in Morocco.

Richard Wooldridge, editor of The Press in York for almost ten years in the 1980s and 90s died on Sunday, aged 69.

At the time of his death he had been on an activity holiday with his wife Lynda, daughter Henrietta and son Christopher.

Richard was managing director and editor of The Press, then known as the Yorkshire Evening Press, between 1982 and 1991 and went on to become editorial director of its then parent company, Westminster Press.

During his editorship Richard oversaw the paper’s move from Coney Street to its current offices Walmgate in 1989 together with the introduction of new technology.

He was awarded the title of regional editor of the year at the Newspaper Focus Awards in 1991

He led many campaigns including one at the time of the takeover of the city’s Rowntree factory by Nestle, and also oversaw coverage of the 1985 fire which destroyed much of York Minster.

After leaving the YEP he went on to be editorial director of Westminster Press, now part of Newsquest, before joining the International Herald Tribune.

Robert Beaumont, friend and former chief features editor of The Press, said:  “He was easily the best editor I ever worked with, along with David Nicholson. He was a very inspirational leader and was a source of huge encouragement to me.

“He was a brilliant motivator and helped me develop my journalistic skills to become chief feature writer.

“He was an outstanding journalist, brilliant editor and someone who loved the heart of York.

“He transformed the Yorkshire Evening Press from a slightly stuffy, if honourable, paper of record to an inspirational, campaigning and award-winning newspaper which contained all that was best in journalism.

“I am desperately sorry to hear this news.”

A funeral service will be held in France and a memorial service, details of which are to be arranged, will take place in York later this year.

 

4 comments

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  • March 22, 2012 at 11:12 am
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    A hard man, but fair. A good journalist and the sort of editor who seems to have disappeared from the industry. The story was everything and the advertising department had no place in editorial. If an advert looked horrible on a page, then it had to change or go. Nowadays the attitude has to be take the money and to hell with the paper’s values. I was his sports editor and we waged battles about his views on prominence of certain sports (notably rallying). looking back though I cannot remember him once over-ruling me. “OK, if that’s your view, go with it,” he said. His love of Yorkshire cricket shone through. He was a passionate supporter of Boycott during the internecine battles at Yorkshire CCC while I had a more, shall we say, neutral view. I also called for Yorkshire to compete with other counties and recruit overseas cricketers while he passionately believed in Yorkshire-only players. The conversation always ended with me pointing out that I was a Yorkshireman but his roots were down south, so the whole argument had nothing to do with him. He always, smiled, tutted and then said “I suppose you’re right”. Yes, I respected him.

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  • March 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm
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    Ian’s comments above reflect everything I knew about the man. I never worked with him, but worked in ‘opposition’ when I was editor of the Scarborough Evening News. I admired his papers immensely. I met him many times, including several memorable afternoons at the Scarborough Cricket Festival. As a fellow ‘Boycott’ man we had a common thread. Old school, hard but fair, passionate and an editor who drew respect and admiration. I am sure that many of us wouldn’t mind that as a eulogy.

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  • March 22, 2012 at 4:50 pm
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    I was employed by Richard as the Advertisement Manager at the Yorkshire Press and will always remain appreciative of the opportunity he gave me to work for such a vibrant newspaper under his direction.
    They were good years, and very memorable.

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  • March 22, 2012 at 5:26 pm
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    First worked with RW in the 1970s on the south coast when he was drafted in to help launch some new Westminster Press weeklies – he had some shadow in his past and was making a fresh start, but it was obvious he was a class act.
    A few years later he gave me my first step up with a chief reporter role in North Herts, quickly followed by news editor – happy days, awards galore, and lunchtimes in the pub (though not with him, he was never the most clubbable of men but a great boss).
    Ian and Neil are spot on – RIP Richard, I will always be grateful for the opportunity, and the example.

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