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Regional journalist who became US coastguard pilot dies aged 76

mike-irishA former regional journalist who became a coastguard pilot in America after his career took him over the Atlantic has died aged 76.

Mike Irish, left, worked on newspapers in the North-West of England before joining the National Enquirer tabloid news magazine in Florida.

His career in England saw him spend time at the Bury Times, Bolton News and the now-defunct Manchester Evening Chronicle.

A qualified pilot, Mike completed national service with the Royal Air Force and later volunteered for the US coastguard where he flew missions looking for drug smugglers off the coast of Miami.

Mike’s half-brother Christ Thompson, 62, told the News: “He liked his ladies and he was never shy of taking a risk. He lived a full and active life.”

Born in Leeds, Mike moved to Bury aged 12 and joined the Times as a junior reporter aged 16.

Two years later, he was called up for national service and served in the RAF in Anglesey.

Mike moved to America with his wife, Christine, and his two young children, Sarah and Paul.

He later delved into the property market and eventually set up his own real estate company, Irish Realty.

Chris added: “The company was successful in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and Mike was able to make money from property while continuing occasional journalism work.”

“He eventually went part-time, but worked right up until last year.”

Mike went onto marry his second wife, Gloria, and is also survived by a half-sister, Liz.

He was diagnosed with bone-marrow cancer several years ago and died on 22 October during a course of chemotherapy.