A former Daily Express sub-editor who returned to his hometown newspaper and stayed for the next 39 years has died aged 67.
Keith Newton, entertainments editor of the Teesside Gazette for a quarter of a century, lost a four-year battle with cancer last week.
After growing up in Ormesby and attending school in Redcar, Keith initially joined the Gazette as a trainee in 1963.
A stint at then owner Thomson Regional Newspapers’ London office was followed by four years as a sub-editor with the Express in Manchester – but he rejoined the Gazette in 1970 and stayed until his retirement.
Wife Lyn said: “He adored the job, the camaraderie, going out and meeting people, working to deadlines, going to the theatre…. he was passionate about everything he did.
“He’d often be on the phone, talking to famous people – the likes of Paul Daniel would often ring us.”
A staunch union man and Labour Party supporter, Keith had met his future wife – then a reporter with the rival Teesside Star – as he tried to sign fellow hacks up to the National Union of Journalists.
He later quipped: “I signed her up for the union, then signed her up for life.”
After originally being diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2008 he detailed his battle with the disease in an awareness-raising article.
He retired from the paper the following year.
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Tom Blenkinsop said: “Keith campaigned for me in the 2010 General Election and was a loyal Labour Party member for many years.
“He was affectionately known within the party and we will all miss him. Our thoughts are with his wife and family.”
Keith, who was also a governor of South Tees Hospital Trust, leaves Lyn, children Tim and Louise and grandchildren Matt, 17, Ben, 15, Francesca, 13, Erin, five and Callum, two.
His funeral takes place tomorrow at St Hilda’s chapel, Teesside Crematorium, at 10.15am.