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Sports editor who spent 50-year career with regional daily dies aged 79

Jeff TodhunterA former sports editor who spent his entire 54-year career with the same regional daily has died aged 79.

Tributes have been paid to Jeff Todhunter, who spent 15 years as sports editor of the Echo, between 1972 and 1987.

He also worked as a news reporter and sub-editor at the newspaper, to which he still continued to contribute after his retirement in 1998.

Jeff, pictured left, passed away earlier this month at his home in Darlington after a long battle with cancer.

Current Echo editor Peter Barron said: “It is very unusual that someone spends their whole career devoted to one job and Jeff was a stalwart of the North-East sports journalism scene.

“He was a gentleman of the old school traditional journalism who stood the test of time.”

Jeff started as a junior news reporter at the Echo in 1954, but soon moved into sports journalism where he specialised in boxing and snooker coverage.

Away from work, he was also a talented squash player who competed at county level.

Jeff’s son, Ian, described once being unable to see from one end of the Echo’s office to another because of the fug of cigarette smoke during a visit to his father’s workplace as a child.

He added: “It was a different time. He was a lovely fellow and a one-job man; he was loyal to the Echo all the way through. He enjoyed it and embraced the technology that changed the job so much over the years.”

Since his father’s death, Ian had unearthed many historical newspaper articles and letters kept by him over the decades, including a complimentary missive from former Echo and Sunday Times editor Sir Harold Evans.

Jeff leaves behind Ian and five grandchildren, having outlived his wife Heather and son Mark, and his funeral was held in Darlington yesterday.


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  • January 26, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    I remember Jeff as a kind guy and a gentleman. Firmly one of the old school and a stickler for grammar, I doubt his like will be around much in the newspapers of tomorrow. RIP

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  • January 26, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    Fantastic record. There will be far fewer of these stories in years to come sadly.

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