Each year has its sad goodbyes and the last 12 months have once again seen the journalistic profession bid farewell to some of its most distinguished figures, including a number of former daily editors.
Our Review of the Year series continues with a selection of obituaries which have featured on HoldtheFrontPage over the past 12 months, along with some of the tributes that have been paid to them by friends and colleagues.
Former editor of the Reading Evening Post and Middlesbrough Evening Gazette who died aged 66.
“As an editor, he was a genuine innovator and a vigorous champion of Teesside. He was a real operator. I admired him greatly and will miss him massively.” – Peter Montellier, his successor at the Gazette
Founding features editor at the Shropshire Star and deputy editor of the Wolverhampton Chronicle who died aged 83.
“His interests in retirement included photography and foreign travel.” – An obituary in the Express & Star, Wolverhampton, to John
Former Northumberland Gazette editor who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 72.
“Bob was a fantastic, long-serving and hard-working editor of the Gazette and upheld strong journalistic values. He did an amazing amount for the community and was well-respected in north Northumberland.” – Gazette editor Paul Larkin
Former editor at the Lancashire Telegraph whose career led to Fleet Street lost his five-year cancer battle aged 69.
“He was a great bloke and I really got on with him. He was a larger-than-life character and was well known in Blackburn. He was also a very, very good journalist. I will miss him.” – Peter Butterfield, who succeeded him at the Telegraph
Former journalist who had become the youngest editor in the UK aged 29 at the Bracknell News and passed away aged 84.
“Roy was an old-fashioned journalist whose week was not finished until the paper had been put to bed” – Former Reading Chronicle editor Maurice O’Brien
Former Basingstoke Gazette editor who spent 30 years at the weekly and died at 84.
“He was very friendly and he loved his job. He loved his sports and played football for The Gazette team. He had a great sense of humour, and we were always doing daft things.” – Former Gazette editor Doug Crossley
Former Hartlepool Mail editor who died aged 71.
“I was sorry to hear that Peter Chislett, former editor of the Hartlepool Mail and Advertiser Series in Darlington, had died. Nice man.” – Northern Echo editor Peter Barron
Motoring journalist and former editor of the Solihull News who died in a car crash aged 75.
“Was an honour to share cars with him. John was so supportive of me from day one. Gutted I’ll not get the chance to repay that belief.” – Motoring writer Phil Huff
Former Bristol Post crime reporter who died of a stroke while renovating a river boat aged 59.
“I was fortunate enough to work with Bob on the Evening Post. Top operator, top bloke.” – Former colleague Graham Jenkins
Former features and business editor of the Yorkshire Post who also held a weekly column at the daily, which he continued to write until well into his 80s.
“Bernard was a hugely talented journalist whose genius lay in his instinctive grasp of the fact that the key demand of any writer on the opinion pages is the ability to spark debate.” – Current YP editor Jeremy Clifford
Former Hinckley Times and Coventry Telegraph reporter who died of stomach cancer aged 35.
“Simon was a reporter at the Hinckley Times when I became editor there in 2002. It was clear from the start that he was not only a likeable young man but an accomplished reporter who was going places. His death at such a young age is a terrible blow for his wife and young children and all who knew him.” – former colleague Paul Webb
Former journalist at The Argus, Brighton, who later became a novelist and was found dead at Beachy Head after a decade-long prostate cancer battle.
“He had a great joie de vivre, a wonderful love of life. We will miss him and we will miss his irreverent sense of humour.” – His son Dominic
Former editor of the Cheltenham News, assitant editor of the Gloucestershire Echo and war veteran who died at 95.
“Although the Cheltenham News was only a freesheet, Gerry edited it by the old school standards of the time. Never a split infinitive. Never the word less when it should have been fewer. He was a professional.” – Echo feature writer Robin Brooks
Former district reporter and chief sub-editor at the Northern Echo, who worked at the daily for 34 years and died aged 84.
“I used to think of him as a sort of journalistic James Herriot – he was brought up in London but he was embraced by the local communities, and was taught by farmers how to tell the difference between male and female sheep.” – His son John Goodfellow
Shropshire Star sub-editor who died at 45 after suffering a stroke.
“Emma was brilliant. She had an amazing eye for detail and was utterly dedicated to the job in hand.” – Star columnist Peter Rhodes
Former football writer and editor of the Ulster Star who died aged 70.
“He was a wonderful man to know and a terrific companion.” – Former colleague Jim Gracey
Former sports reporter who spent 44 years at The Sentinel, Stoke
“Chris Harper was a respected journalist, a treasured colleague and a gentleman. He will be sorely missed.” – Sentinel sports editor Keith Wales
President of the Chartered Institute of Journalists and founding editor of the Harrow Times, who lost his battle with cancer.
“Charlie was my rock. A true gentleman, a true friend. We had the greatest friendship. I have never come across someone so genuine, so funny, who made everyone laugh. I will miss him every day.” – Balbir Kaur-Sunners. membership secretary of the Chartered Institute of Journalists
Former Sunderland Echo who drowned after falling overboard from a cruise ship in South America aged 69.
“He was incredibly intelligent, very well read, with an exceptional knowledge of literature and poetry. When I was a kid at the Echo, he would tell me about his travels around the world, and I always remember thinking how adventurous he was.” – Alistair Robinson, former colleague at the Echo and journalism lecturer at Sunderland University.
Reporter and news editor at the Bolton Evening News for more than three decades who died at 71 after a long illness.
“I owe him a great deal and I would not have been editor of my home town newspaper without the support I received from him over the years. I know that he mentored many journalists who went on to bigger and better things. He will be sadly missed.” – Bolton News editor Ian Savage
Former Dorset Echo sub-editor who died of cancer aged 56.
“It was a shock to hear of his death at such a young age. He was a professional man who followed in the footsteps of his father Michael who was also a local reporter for the Western Daily Press.” – Former Bridport News chief reporter Chris Carson
Former group editor at the Hendon Times and its sister titles who died aged 51.
“John was the best first editor a journalist could wish for: wise, funny and kind. He had a dry sense of humour but always had a wry smile on his face – however stressful the situation. I learned so much from him.” – Former colleague Nicole Lampert
Freelancer and former chief photographer of the Perthshire Advertiser, who collapsed while covering a council parade and died shortly after.
“It’s awful. Graeme had been out in Edinburgh two days before on a ‘boys’ day out’. I couldn’t believe it as it’s so sudden.” – Freelance photographer Fraser Band
Former Oswestry and Border Counties Advertizer chief reporter, who died of cancer at 34.
“Dave was a hard working and loyal member of the Advertizer team. He was an excellent reporter with a particular gift for feature writing.” – Former Advertizer editor Susan Perry
Founding editor of the Evening Echo, Hemel Hempstead, who died at 91.
“Ivor brought together a formidable array of talent, many of whom went on to become editors themselves.” – Former Evening Echo journalist John Marquis
Former international rugby player cricketer who spent three decades at The Scotsman and died aged 86.
“He was one of the most outstanding journalists of his generation, and his contribution to The Scotsman and to sports journalism in general was simply huge.” – Ian Stewart, editorial director of The Scotsman Publications Ltd
A journalist for 40 years, who spent much of his career as court reporter with the Grimsby Telegraph and once drove the Flying Scotsman.
“He broke the sound barrier twice and he loved the fact that he did that and could say he was a ‘Lightning reporter’.” – Frank’s daughter Amanda
Former president of the Chartered Institute of Journalists and Yorkshire Post business correspondent who died aged 74.
“Robin’s generosity, kindness and humour endeared him to friends and colleagues alike.” – The Post’s obituary to Robin
Former Derby Telegraph chief football writer who covered Derby County for more than three decades and wrote Brian Clough’s resignation letter from the club.
“He was a colleague who became a friend and, over the years, we spent hours and hours discussing football. Gerald was a fount of Derby County knowledge. What he did not know about the club, its history and its fortunes was not worth knowing.” – Steve Nicholson, who succeeded Gerald as chief football writer
Founding editor of the Isle of Wight Weekly Post who died of cancer aged 65.
“He was enormously admired, liked and respected by all who worked with him over many decades in the business.” – Chciester Observer editor-in-chief Gary Shipton
Editor of the Waltham Forest Guardian who later became its MD and died aged 85.
“He was a mentor and friend who was a true enthusiast for the job.” – Former Guardian sports editor John Burton
Head of production at the Bournemouth Daily Echo who lost his cancer battle aged 46.
“Totally unflappable, dedicated and dependable, his meticulous eye for quality and high standards was second to none.” – Newsquest Dorset group editor Toby Granville
Disabled reporter on East London weekly the Yellow Advertiser who died from from heart failure at 34.
“My fondest memories of him will be the irreverent way he and his workmates refused to let his condition define him as a person, and as their friend.” – Yellow Advertiser editor Mick Ferris
Former chief photographer and “face” of the Scunthorpe Telegraph who died aged 84.
“Norman was always the ultimate professional, making sure he got the very best pictures, while at the same time always having a sensitivity for the people we were dealing with.” – Former Telegraph sports editor Bob Steel
Former Solihull News editor who died of lung cancer at 67.
“He had a rather crusty manner, but fundamentally he was one of the most decent people you could ever wish to meet, devoted to his family. He will be remembered as one of the last old-style weekly newspaper editors.” – Former Dudley Herald and Central TV journalist Mart Gottschalk
Former Brighouse Echo editor who died at 72.
“He was proud of his craft, proud of his town and he loved sharing its high days and holidays, its setbacks and down days, with his army of loyal readers.” – Former colleague Stephen Firth
Former sub-editor on the Worcester News and deputy editor of the Redditch Advertiser who died of cancer aged 39.
“Sarah was always putting others before herself, always approaching life with a smile and a joke, always the model professional journalist. All our lives are the richer forever for her tragically short time among us.” – Fellow sub-editor Pete Wallace
Former editor of the Daily Record who died aged 82.
“He gave his all for all of us in what those who worked there remember as an historic and tumultuous period in the life and history of newspapers in Scotland.” – Record feature writer Sandra Ratcliffe
Former editor of the Daily Record, who died of a heart attack aged 86.
“He lived an extraordinary life devoted to his profession, to his family… and to having fun.” – Allan Rennie, editor-in-chief of Trinity Mirror’s Media Scotland
“Tom was an inspiration to me, and to many others, as a media law specialist, as a journalist, and as a tireless campaigner for freedom of the press, the public’s right to know, and the right of journalists to report what happens in our courts.” – Mike Dodd, who succeeded Mike as McNae’s co-author
Former group editor of the Guardian series in Epping Forest, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, who died at 84.
“He was very much an old-style journalist. He always believed in the old-fashioned way of journalism. He was always a believer that you went out to look for a story rather than sit in the office and wait for the story to come to you.” – John’s daughter Jacqueline