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Editor of two former regional dailies dies aged 89

Dennis TaylorThe editor of two former regional dailies who was one of the first journalists from outside Liverpool to interview The Beatles has died aged 89.

Dennis Taylor, left, successfully campaigned for the building of the M65 motorway between Blackburn and Burnley while editing the now-defunct Burnley Evening Star.

As the paper’s launch editor in 1965, Dennis was also responsible for founding the Sports Pink publication to carry in-depth news and reports on rival football clubs Burnley FC and Blackburn Rovers.

Dennis, who died in hospital in Lancaster last Saturday, later spent almost 10 years in charge of the Evening Courier, now a weekly newspaper.

Dennis spent all his working life in journalism, having started his career at hometown paper the Chorley Guardian and briefly moving south to the Bedfordshire Times.

In 1961, while a journalist and music correspondent with the Lancashire Evening Telegraph in Blackburn, he was one of the first journalists from outside Liverpool to interview The Beatles.

Daughter Carolyn said: “He came back from meeting them and he was so excited, saying they would be big stars, and that John Lennon in particular was a real character and very focused.”

In the 1970s, between editorships, he also worked subbing shifts on several nationals and Sundays at their Manchester offices, before taking on the Evening Courier in 1978.

Before officially retiring he worked as a sub-editor at the North West Evening Mail, in Barrow-in-Furness, and finally the Westmorland Gazette, in Kendal, the town where and his wife Ida moved to in 1988.

He also helped out with producing walking books and with Talking Newspapers for the Blind.

A keen sports player in his younger days and a fan of many sports all his life, he played golf up until his late eighties and cricket for his home town Chorley in the Northern League.

A fan of Burnley Football Club, he struck up a firm friendship with their former chairman, Bob Lord.

His son Philip said: “Just before dad died, as he lay in hospital in Lancaster, I was able to tell him that the Clarets had survived in the Premier League and he was so chuffed. We went to so many matches at Turf Moor – and further afield – in the 1970s.”

Four of his six children – Michael, Carolyn, Simon and Philip – have all enjoyed long careers in journalism.

Michael was chief sub-editor of the South Wales Echo for several years, Carolyn worked on the Lancashire Telegraph and then the Liverpool Echo where she became features editor, Simon was on the Bradford Telegraph & Argus before going to London to work at the nationals and became production editor of the Sunday Times, while Philip started off at the Burnley Express before going to the Oxford Mail, then coming back north to work on papers in Cumbria before leaving the Carlisle News & Star last year.

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  • May 25, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    A gentleman editor who allowed empowerment and believed in his journalists giving his titles lots of personality. I will be forever grateful for giving me a job as a reporter on the Evening Star. Great days!

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