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Former weekly chief reporter who saved man’s life dies aged 87

A former weekly newspaper chief reporter who once saved a man from drowning on a Cornish beach has died aged 87.

Tributes have been paid to Barrie Cowling, who worked on the Corinsh and Devon Post.

Barrie took on an indentureship at the Post when he was around 16-years-old, and remained there until the early 1980s.

He also served as a sub-editor for the Sunday Independent, where his son Philip has worked for more than 20 years.

Barrie worked for the Cornish and Devon Post

Barrie worked for the Cornish and Devon Post

Barrie saved a man from drowning while walking on a beach with his daughter Alison, who was a child at the time and saw the swimmer waving from the sea.

After mentioning this to her father, Barrie rescued the man from the water and went up a tall cliff to raise the alarm.

Former Post colleague Colin Gregory recalled their first day working together 55 years ago.

He said: “There was the editor, Arthur Venning, who had offered me the job as trainee reporter, Douglas Allen, who had retired from the Daily Express, sports editor Bill Haste, Barrie, another new reporter, John Hambly, from Bude, and a variety of readers who used to check the copy.

“Barrie had originally come from Camelford, which was also my family’s home area, and he had attended the old Camelford Grammar School with my cousin. We hit it off right away.”

He added: “All the men I worked with, and they were all male reporters in those days, were keen to help young lads like me and Barrie was no exception.

“Generally we all went on jobs on our own, but there were many events when I would ride in Barrie’s car, I distinctly remember his pastel green and cream Hillman Minx. We always did the Royal Cornwall Show together, sitting in the office typing out results until the early hours of the morning.”

Barrie and his ex-wife Doreen had five children — Angela, Philip, Alison, Paul, and Diane, who passed away in 1998.