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Midlands newspaper’s first business editor dies at 86

A former journalist who became the Birmingham Post’s first business editor before joining the world of PR has died at the age of 86.

Keith Gascoigne, who is a former chairman of Birmingham Press Club, started his career on the Sheffield Telegraph in 1949 and also worked at the Daily Express and The Guardian as well as the Post.

He then made the move into public relations and set up his own PR company, GMA, where he worked until his retirement in 1994.

Keith, pictured left, died in Warwick Hospital and tributes have been paid by former colleagues.

Peter Saunders, a former Birmingham Post editor, said: “When I arrived at the Post in 1964 Keith was already ensconced as business editor and, I seem to recall, the sole member, of the business department – an empire that expanded rapidly after the arrival of (editor) David Hopkinson.

“Despite the pressures of those years he always freely offered help and advice to even the lowliest sub-editor, dispensed with his particular brand of twinkling, Pickwickian charm.

“That help continued after he left the Post and moved on to IMI and then his own PR agency; always professional, always cheerful and always the best of company.”

After starting his career on the Sheffield Telegraph as a reporter and sub-editor, Keith joined the Daily Express as a sub-editor five years later, before joining the Birmingham Post in 1955, when it was a daily title.

He then moved to work for The Guardian as its Birmingham-based correspondent before returning to the Post in 1963 as the paper’s first business editor.

After leaving the Post in 1969, Keith became PR manager at IMI plc in Birmingham, before setting up his own PR company, GMA.

He also twice served as chairman of Birmingham Press Club, in 1964 and 1979, and was a director of the club from 1977. He is also a former President of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

Keith, whose wife Arun died in 1994, is survived by his three daughters, Caroline, Charlotte and Clare, and three grandchildren.

His funeral will take place at Lapworth Church, in Lapworth, Warwickshire, on 10 June at 12 noon.