Philip worked for the Observer for more than 20 years, regularly covering court stories and also writing the newspaper’s pubs and clubs column.
He was not married, had no children and his parents and siblings died before him.
Now, friends are trying to bring Philip home for a funeral in Accrington, the town where both his mother and sister were laid to rest.
Philip’s lifelong friend Olwen Collard told the Observer he moved out of the Accrington area in 2014.
She said: “I had known Philip since I was a little girl, he was one of our neighbours when I was growing up, we go back a long time.
“Everybody knew him as the reporter and a lot of his drinking friends are still in Accrington, he liked a drink.”
According to Philip’s best friend Mick McKenna, his court reporting exploits earned him the nickname ‘Scoop’.
He said: “I’ve known Philip for a lot of years, he was a lovely man. I probably was his best friend, he was a great character.
“He was a court reporter and he had a few stories to tell after he retired, they gave him the nickname Scoop. He was never any trouble and he was a great friend of mine.”
A file on Philip’s death has been passed to the coroner at Preston.