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Former photographer turned production editor dies at 69

A former production editon at a regional daily who began his career as a press photographer has died at the age of 69.

Trevor Upton had three spells working for The Northern Echo and ended his career there, rejoining the title in 1979 and remaining there until his retirement in 2006, rising to the role of production editor.

He started his career as a press photographer with the then Portsmouth Evening News before retraining as a journalist and working for titles including The Scotsman and The Sun.

Tributes have been paid to Trevor in a story by the Echo after he died at Darlington Memorial Hospital last Thursday.

Editor Peter Barron said: “Trevor was a fine journalist who gave great service to The Northern Echo, guiding the paper through many technical crises during his time as production editor and assistant editor.

“He was also a gentleman: caring, thoughtful and charming. His death has been met with great sadness by those of us who enjoyed working with him.”

Andrew Smith, former editor of the Echo, added: “Trevor was a colleague and good friend. As production editor, he would usually be the last editorial executive on duty into the early hours of the morning.

“It was very reassuring to know that Trevor’s dedication and attention to detail would safely see the Echo go to print every night on deadline and to the exacting standard expected of it. He will be a big miss.”

As a press photographer for the Portsmouth title, one of Trevor’s proudest early assignments was photographing The Beatles and he also had a photo exhibited in The Hague.

Despite this, he decided to retrain as a journalist and was offered a job by the then Northern Echo editor Don Evans as a district reporter in the paper’s Hartlepool office.

While in Hartlepool, Trevor met Chris Spaldin, a young reporter with the Hartlepool Mail, who became his wife in 1971 and who also spent time working for the Echo.

He then worked again for the Portsmouth News in the paper’s Isle of Wight office, before taking a reporting job with The Scotsman.

Trevor returned to the Echo for a short period before joining The Sun as a sub-editor on Fleet Street, then rejoined the Echo in 1979, where he remained for the rest of his career.

Trevor leaves Chris, daughters Alexandre, Stephanie and Caitlin, grandchildren, Freya, Tiggy, Ralph and Velvet and also his horse Jilly.

Media consultant Peter Sands, who used to work at the Echo, has also paid tribute to Trevor calling him an “the backbone of the subs’ room” and his piece can be read here.


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  • August 27, 2013 at 9:58 am

    David Kernek (formerly Flintham), who also worked with Trevor writes:

    I worked with Trevor during my stints as deputy editor and, later, editor of The Northern Echo. I think he also had the burden of subbing some of the copy I bashed out during my years at the House of Commons as the Echo’s political correspondent.
    Despite the normal production pressures of getting the multi-edition Echo out every night – and often in later years the turmoil generated by worldview changes at Westminster Press, local NUJ issues, editorial department re-organization, and the press in York – Trevor was never less than calm, cheerful, constructive – in a low-key, London sort of way – and supportive. He was especially helpful when I tabled not widely welcomed proposals to align the shift hours of senior subs with those of the news desk. His copytasting instincts and Page 1 design skills were consummate.

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  • August 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    I had the pleasure to work with Trevor when I was a young know-it-all sub and he was the consummate professional. He kept me on the straight and narrow many a time .

    A lovely man and my thoughts are with his family.

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  • August 29, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    “… [Trevor] retrained as a journalist…” ?

    I thought press photographers were journalists, well it said so on my NUJ card.

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  • September 4, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    A truly wonderful guy, we sat next to each other on The Northern Echo subs desk in the seventies and I learned so much from him. My thoughts are with his family.

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