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Former weekly editor who mentored future BBC DG dies aged 76

Peter HurstA former editor of three weekly newspapers who once mentored a future BBC director-general has died aged 76.

Tributes have been paid to Peter Hurst, who edited the East Grinstead Observer, Isle of Wight County Press and Surrey Herald during a regional press career spanning more than four decades.

He also served in various roles at newspapers in the London area prior to taking on his trio of editorships.

One of his roles was as deputy editor of the Hillingdon Mirror, where the future BBC director-general Greg Dyke was one of the young reporters under his watch.

Peter was born in Southall, West London, and raised in Hayes before being evacuated to live with his grandmother in Wiltshire during the war.

After leaving school he opted against going to university to work as a reporter at the Acton Gazette, where he rose to the rank of sports editor.

In 1973, he became editor of the East Grinstead Observer before later transferring to the Surrey Herald.

He held the editorship of the County Press from 1987 until his retirement in 1997 due to ill health.

Current County Press editor Alan Marriott said: “Peter Hurst was an inspirational editor who I worked under for the ten years he was at the helm of the IoW County Press.

“He was strong minded but always approachable. Those who worked under him certainly knew who was boss and you did not want to be on the end of one of his acerbic put downs.

“Having said that, he was great company and led the team by example.

“On a personal note, he gave me great confidence and promoted me several times during his time here.”

Following his retirement, Peter lived in Surrey, Dorset and Hampshire.  He is survived by three children, Max, Helen and Robin.

His funeral takes place at St Mary’s Church, Bramshott, Hampshire, at 12.30pm on Monday. Donations in his memory can be made to the Royal Surrey Hospital, Guildford.