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‘Colourful’ former regional daily news editor dies aged 55

Richard SpencerA former regional daily news editor described as “a colourful rock ‘n’ roll character” has died aged 55.

Tributes have been paid to Richard Spencer, pictured left, who spent more than 30 years working on newspapers in Yorkshire and more recently for the Press Association.

Richard, known as ‘Spender’ to friends and colleagues, has been described as a “key figure” in the Yorkshire Evening Post newsroom for a number of years – both as a reporter and news editor.

His regional press career also saw him work for papers in Harrogate, Bradford and Barnsley before a move into public relations.

Richard, a grandfather-of-six, passed away on Sunday after a battle with cancer.

At the time of his death, he was working as managing editor for Sticky Content – a content marketing agency run by PA.

Long-serving former YEP features editor Anne Pickles said: “Richard was a big-hearted rogue with a limitless sense of fun – a journalist and man without equal.

“Spender will be remembered as exceptional. And I think he might like that.”

A graduate of the London School of Economics, he started his career on weekly newspapers with the Harrogate-based Ackrill Group in 1984.

Three years later he moved to the Bradford Telegraph & Argus, before joining the YEP in 1990.

After a brief stint at the Barnsley Chronicle, he joined PA where, as night editor of its newswire service, he was responsible for the output of 100 journalists across the UK and Ireland.

In 2000, he moved into public relations, to edit a multi award-winning NHS publication and went on to play a key role in public sector communications for Atlas Media Group and later as operations director of the Tribal Group plc’s subsidiary, Kindred.

He returned to journalism in 2012 with Sticky Company.

Outside of work, Richard was described as “a colourful rock ‘n’ roll character who lived life to the full”, enjoying music, food, fashion, cars and travel.

“He was always so cool,” said Yorkshire Television news presenter Christine Talbot this week.

Richard is survived by wife, Jackie, five daughters – Molly, Hannah, Katusha, Sophia and Gabriella – and six grandchildren.


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  • January 29, 2016 at 8:23 am

    “Brief stint at Barnsley” is certainly a very diplomatic way of putting it!

    I was there when it happened…

    My favourite memory of Richard was in The Victoria, Saltaire, when he set fire to Alun Palmer’s silk shirt after a period of winding each other up.

    As Catrina Dick, former news editor of the T&A, Bradford, said: “That wasn’t very sensible, was it Richard?”

    Richard certainly was a great character and will be much missed.

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  • January 29, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Known as Spender? When we were all at the wonderful Darlington College of Technology doing our post grad NCTJ pre entry course Dickie, as he was known, was the life and soul. George Black’s interminable Teeline lessons spring instantly to mind. What fun we all had, what a great guy. So sad.

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  • January 29, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Genuinely shocked and saddened to learn of Richard’s death. I worked with his at the Yorkshire Evening Post when he ran the desk with Adrian Troughton and David Helliwell. He was a proper news man and, in a world that is constantly moving, his trademark hair never did! #RIPSpender

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  • January 29, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    I gave Spender the start in Harrogate when editor of the Tiser. I well remember my marvellous Deputy Jean MacQuarrie ( still there as Editor after taking over from me in 1987 bless her) coming into my office a few weeks after Richard started, and using a few well chosen words to the effect that “We’ve bought a right one here……” Fantastic to see how he lived up to the promise over the years, thoughts and prayers with his family. RIP Richard.

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  • January 30, 2016 at 7:36 am

    A proper news desk man. Not one to toe the line and offer the editor a drink at every opportunity! Nor one to slam a copy of the Sun down on your desk asking loudly why we hadn’t got this or that story. He would simply ask if there was any truth in it and, if so, could he help. An extremely likeable and talented individual who I probably best remember for keeping me in the job a little longer when he carried me to bed as I berated the editor for wasting money on yet another “Investors in people” outing. RIP dear Richard.

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