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Former daily chief sub and Rowntrees PR man dies aged 80

alan potter.jpeg-pwrt2A regional daily’s former chief sub-editor who also worked in public relations for a sweet manufacturer has died aged 80.

Tributes have been paid to Alan Potter, pictured left, formerly of The Press, York and The Yorkshire Post.

Alan, who was educated in York, originally joined the city daily, then known as the Yorkshire Evening Press, straight from school.

He left to work in PR for Rowntrees before moving to the Post, later returning to The Press where he held the position of production editor until his retirement in the 1990s.

David Nicholson, former Press editor, told the paper: “Alan was one of the first to welcome me to York when I joined The Press in 1993. He was at the heart of the engine room of the paper, and guided his team with great care, professionalism and a liberal dose of wonderful good humour.

“He was what every editor needs in a chief sub – an outstanding journalist with a real eye for detail, a love of the city and deep knowledge of the place, and the ability to make convoluted and difficult stories easy and enjoyable to read – all done with great style, dedication and that wonderful smile of his, usually accompanied with a dry and witty remark.

“In an industry that is full of loud, brash, confrontational individuals, Alan stood out as a true gentleman, and gentle man too.”

“He had endless patience, especially with junior members of staff who needed encouragement and guidance. The careers of many reporters and sub-editors have benefited hugely from Alan’s advice and we all owe this charming man a huge debt.”

John Richardson, a former Press news editor, hailed Alan as  “an uncomplicated, decent man doing a complicated and exacting job.”

“Alan was a brilliant craftsman. He was an honest professional, a pleasure to work with and a delight to know as both a colleague and friend of more than 50 years.,” he said.

Robert Beaumont, a former chief features writer, added: “Alan was a man of integrity and wisdom, a very accomplished sub-editor who was extremely modest about his talents and very generous with his knowledge.

“He also had a very dry and engaging sense of humour. Overall, in the 20 years whilst I was at the Yorkshire Evening Press, he was comfortably one of the finest all-round journalists that I worked with.”

Outside of work, Alan was a lifelong bird watcher and member of the RSPB, as well as The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

He moved with wife Ann from York to Scarborough last year to be with family and died suddenly in hospital there earlier this month.  He is survived by three daughters, Barbara, Ruth and Rebecca, and grandchildren.


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  • June 29, 2015 at 10:50 am

    This is very sad news. I worked with Alan during my fairly brief spell as editor of the York Evening Press. He was never, ever, less than helpful, professional, courteous, and quietly witty … a true gent.

    David Kernek (Flintham).

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  • June 29, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    Alan was a consummate professional – accurate, reliable, always met deadlines. And in a time when daily newspapers had several editions he remained courteous to colleagues and was never fazed by the demands of the job.
    Alan was a true gentlemen, one of the best at his job, and quite simply, a thoroughly decent man. He will be sadly missed.

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  • July 1, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    A true gent, a decent man, extremely modest, quietly witty, professional and one of the best at his job.
    There’s nothing more for a former York Evening Press sports editor of the late 80’s left to add. They sum up the qualities of the man perfectly.
    Except to say, and I’m sure all the above who have contributed will no doubt agree, he had to have been an accomplished sub-editor with a sense of humour to deal with Robert Beaumont’s copy!
    You did York, Yorkshire and the newspaper industry proud Alan.

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