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Former daily journalist known as ‘Skipper’ dies aged 72

John EastonA journalist who went from trainee reporter on an island weekly to assistant night news editor of a Scottish daily has died aged 72.

Tributes have been paid to John Easton, known as Skipper, who worked on The Scotsman and The Herald, Glasgow, among other titles, during his career.

John, who died last week after a short illness, started out in journalism as a trainee reporter on island weekly The Buteman, aged 15.

While there John, pictured left, covered an attempt by the island’s council to secede from the United Kingdom, which gave him and his colleagues a chance to cash in by selling the story worldwide.

A few years later he moved to the mainland on the Hamilton Advertiser, before joining The Scotsman at its Glasgow office.

In 1972, he switched to The Herald, where he remained until 2002, working as a news reporter, feature writer and assistant night news editor during his time there.

In an obituary for The Herald, Ian Bruce explained John’s nickname.

He wrote: “He was universally and affectionately known as ‘The Skipper’ because of his decades-long crusade to promote the paddle-steamer Waverley, the world’s last sea-going ship of her kind, and his tireless efforts back in the late 1970s to publicise and raise support for the ultimately successful fight to save her from the breaker’s yard.

“Since there were about six other ‘Johns’ in the Herald newsroom at that time, it also helped avoid confusion when the newsdesk wanted to summon one of them to go out on stories.”

Ian added: “Almost uniquely among journalists, John Easton did not have an enemy in the world. His affable personality and dry sense of humour instead made friends of everyone he met.

“In retirement in Largs, he continued his love of the sea and ships in general by sailing regularly during the Waverley’s summer season and occasionally venturing further afield on cruise liners to France, Spain, Italy and North Africa.”

John is survived by wife Morag, to whom he was married for 45 years.