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Chairman of regional newspaper group dies aged 85

Douglas Graham

The chairman of a regional newspaper group  has died at the age of 85 after a life-long career in the industry

Douglas Graham, left, became chairman of the Claverley Group, the parent company of the Express & Star, Shropshire Star, Jersey Evening Post and the Guernsey Press, in 1993 after taking over the role from his father Malcolm Graham.

He worked in the family-owned newspaper company for his whole life and he led the creation of the Shropshire Star newspaper more than 50 years ago.

Douglas died on Saturday evening at the Princess Royal Hospital at Telford after a short illness.

His wife Sara told the Express & Star: “I was jolly lucky to have been married to him for nearly 35 years. He was great fun, had a wonderful sense of humour, could be occasionally challenging, but was a very interesting man.

“He was also devoted to the family, his stepsons James and Colin, their wives who have all been very supportive and four super grandchildren between the ages of 18 months and 11. In fact, he had great games with the youngest not long before he died.”

Douglas was a life member of the British Racing Drivers’ Club and also a game shooting enthusiast.

He was also a Deputy Lieutenant of Shropshire for many years and was involved in local matters across the Midlands.

Shropshire’s Lord Lieutenant Sir Algernon Heber-Percy, who was a close friend, said the county had him to thank for the creation of the Shropshire Star.

He said: “We are tremendously grateful for that and the wonderful role he played in giving our county a voice it had never had before.

“On a personal note, he has been a very real friend and to my knowledge has helped a huge number of people, young and old. He was a true sportsman, a great racing driver and he loved country sports. He will be missed in so many ways.”

The Claverley Group incorporates the Midland News Assocation, which publishes the Midlands titles, and the Guiton Group, which runs the newspapers on the Channel Islands.