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Veteran reporter dies aged 80 after falling ill at Spanish home

Bill NuttingA Fleet Street veteran of 50 years who began his career in the regional press has died aged 80.

Tributes have been paid to William Nutting, known to colleagues as Bill, who passed away after falling ill at his home in Spain last week.

Bill, left, began his career on the Romford Recorder in 1956, before making the move to the nationals in 1959.

He worked at the European, Sunday People magazine and in a troubleshooting role across several titles before settling at the Sunday Mirror, where he was late chief sub-editor for many years.

More recently he was also a genial maître’d at Crispins, a restaurant he set up in Messing, Essex, with his wife Ewa, a chef.

Bill enjoyed his Mirror job so much that even after he and Ewa moved to Spain and set up a cookery school in the Andalucian countryside, he commuted weekly back to London and continued part-time until he finally retired in 2010 at the age of 74.

An obituary by Brian Hancill reads: “During his dead-of-night shifts with no breaking news to interrupt the edition, Bill would whisk away whichever sub was lucky enough to share the late turn to a restaurant in Brick Lane or Greenwich, telling the news desk before setting off in his sleek black Mercedes: ‘Got my number chaps? Back in a jiffy if anything happens.’

“Eventually, word came down from on high that this was really taking too much of a liberty. Bill accepted with good grace, and instead used his restaurateur’s flair to elevate a humble Indian takeaway into a fine dining experience in the office, spreading a tablecloth of upside-down layout sheets between the computer monitors and furnishing it with polished wine glasses, immaculate cutlery and trays of hors d’oeuvres. Once he even brought in fresh oysters.”

He added: “Renowned for his journalistic flair and enthusiasm and love of colourful Italian shirts, he also became well known for occasionally directing his taxi driver to the wrong airport after his shift ended at 3am on a Sunday morning.”

Bill is survived by Ewa, three sons – two from an earlier marriage – and three grandchildren.

A family ceremony will take place this week in Spain, to be followed by a UK commemoration in September.