AddThis SmartLayers

Deputy editor who turned down national job dies aged 78

Beryl TaylorA weekly deputy editor who turned down the the chance to work on a national newspaper because of her young family has died aged 78.

Tributes have been paid to Beryl Taylor, former deputy editor at the Ellesmere Port Pioneer, the paper where she spent most of her working life.

At one point she turned down a job on The Guardian, due to family commitments, later going on to found her own PR agency.

However, she remained a main point of contact in Cheshire for the national press and the Press Association throughout her career.

Born in Ellesmere Port, Beryl was orphaned aged nine but was recognised as academically gifted by her teachers.

A frequent contributor to her school’s magazine, she had always harboured ambitions to be a journalist and applied to the Pioneer after completing her O Levels.

Beryl began working in the printing department but also ran errands and kept asking Albert Thorneycroft, the paper’s editor, to give her a chance writing.

Eventually through Beryl’s persistence Albert, recognising her determination, offered her a story to cover and then immediately made room for her. She worked her way up to become his deputy editor and news editor.

Upon Albert’s retirement, she was offered his job. However, she turned it down in order to continue with grass roots reporting and training new reporters.

Among the reporters to come up through the Pioneer’s ranks under her guidance were BBC Home Affairs correspondent June Kelly and ITN’s Tim Rogers.

She also trained her own daughter Gaynor, who now works as group director of communications at energy company United Utilities.

Daughter Jeanette Starkey told the Pioneer: “She was respected by the public, industry, business and political figures. Every election she allocated a reporter to each political party to shadow them and report for the Pioneer on their campaigns. Beryl remained so completely party neutral that every party wanted her to be their shadow.

“Along with Mr Thorneycroft and various businessmen, Beryl was a founder of the Ellesmere Port and Neston Talking Newspaper and was integral with the annual local beauty contest, Miss Ellesmere Port. She helped raise money for charities, including the YMCA, Boys’ Club and the Hospice of the Good Shepherd.”

In 1989, Beryl decided to leave the Pioneer and expand her own press and public relations agency in collaboration with Jeanette and son-in-law, Jonathan.

She is survived by her husband David, a former printer at the Pioneer, four daughters, eleven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.