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Tributes as regional daily’s former design chief dies aged 61

Tony LockeA “hugely professional and dedicated” journalist who was one of a regional daily’s longest-serving editorial staff has died aged 61.

Tributes have been paid to Tony Locke, pictured left, who worked at the Hartlepool Mail for more than a quarter of a century, including a spell as its head of design.

Originally from Stockton-on-Tees, he worked at the Evening Despatch, in Darlington, before landing a sub-editing job at the Mail in the mid-1980s.

After leaving in 2013 he went on to the Teesside Gazette, in Middlesbrough, where until recently he still worked occasional subbing shifts.   He also delivered guest lectures to journalism students at Teesside University.

An obituary in the Mail notes Tony “effortlessly” made the transition from “hot metal” to full-page computer design before progressing to the head of design role.

Mail editorial director Joy Yates said: “Tony was an extremely popular member of the Hartlepool Mail team and was often called upon for advice and guidance. He will be sorely missed by all who had the honour of working with him.”

Former Mail assistant editor Gavin Ledwith added: “Tony was one of the most knowledgeable people I have worked with in journalism. He was happy to share his undoubted skills with less experienced and talented people such as myself.

“His deliberately grumpy manner could not hide a wicked sense of humour and I am sure I speak for countless former colleagues in saying how saddened and shocked I am at the death of one of the funniest people I have ever met.”

Among colleagues he was known for his sense of humour and sharp mind, which led to an appearance on the Channel 4 quiz show Fifteen to One.

Outside of work, he was also a season ticket holder at Middlesbrough FC for three decades. It is understood he had suffered a short illness before passing away.

Ian McNeal, daily content editor at The Gazette, said: “Tony was a hugely dedicated and professional journalist. He cared deeply about newspapers and about ensuring they had the best possible page design and highest quality writing.

“He was always a warm and friendly presence in the newsroom and his sense of humour will be very much missed at the Gazette. Our thoughts and condolences go to his family and friends.”

Tony is survived by wife Pauline, daughters Zoe and Hannah, and grandchildren Lucy and William.

His funeral will be held at St Hilda’s Chapel, Teesside Crematorium, Middlesbrough, on Tuesday at 2.15pm.


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  • April 16, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Terribly sad news. Tony was such great fun to be with – very witty and sharp – and he was a great sub, too. Had many a laugh with him in Darlington and Middlesbrough pubs… and the day he wrote a complete spoof story about gold being found on the beach at Seaton Carew still has me in stitches – especially the bit about Professor Glint Intheye. He was a lovely man – my sincere condolences to his family.

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  • April 17, 2015 at 7:35 am

    Very sad to see Tony go far too early. I worked with him at the Evening Despatch back in the early ’80s. As well as being a well-liked, popular member of the team he was a very talented sub and creative all-round journalist. And when Tony tackled you on the football field you stayed tackled – he was as committed on the pitch as he was in the newsroom! My thoughts today go out to his wife, daughters and grandchildren.

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  • April 21, 2015 at 7:00 am

    Have only just seen this. Tony’s eagle eye spared my blushes more times than I care to admit. RIP, top bloke.

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