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‘Gentleman’ journalist who edited weekly for 23 years dies aged 87

Raymond BowerA “gentleman” journalist who spent 23 years editing a weekly newspaper editor has died aged 87.

Tributes have been paid to Raymond Bower, left, who was the longest-serving editor of the North Wales Chronicle, in Bangor.

During his career with the Chronicle, he helping to raise thousands for the Bangor Hospital Ysybty Gwynedd’s scanner appeal and he was instrumental in leading a campaign to restore its historic pier.

Raymond, or ‘Mr Bower’ as he was known to staff, also attended the investiture of Prince Charles at Caernarfon Castle, with his son Maurice, who followed his father into journalism.

Kerry Roberts, current photographer at the Chronicle, who worked with him for five years, said: “I remember him well, he was a proper “old school” style editor, and a gentleman. He was always a professional, always wore a suit and the old style trouser braces.”

Former Evening Leader editor Reg Herbert added: “We used to meet up at editors’ meetings . He was a gentleman, a nice man and a very good editor. It is sad to hear of his passing.”

Raymond completed National Service where he was sent to the Nuremberg Trials to type reports for the War Office and shared a room with a prominent Nazi called Otto John, who helped British authorities to categorise the degree of Nazi ideology of German wartime leaders.

Raymond began his journalism career on his hometown newspaper the Rotherham Express, and at first considered himself a “complete failure” after failing to obtain a funeral report on his first news job because the woman he was getting it from thought he worked for the rival Rotherham Advertiser.

He became chairman of the local National Union of Journalists branch and moved to work in Doncaster for the Yorkshire Post before becoming a sub-editor at the Rotherham Advertiser.

Raymond himself recalled: “When I started in the business I was told we were Gentlemen of the Fourth Estate – that we were, in order of precedence, after the Crown, the Lords and the Commons.

“No slagging us off in those days. But we young reporters were also trained not to slag off other people – that reporters reported the facts.”

He moved to North Wales in 1966, where he remained until retirement in 1989.

Raymond had four children – Maurice, Carole, David and Robert – by his first wife Janet, who he divorced after 39 years of marriage.

In 1990 he married Chronicle advertisement manger Betty Jones, who is now 84.

He is survived by nine grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

A lifelong fan of football and cricket, he was a friend of Yorkshire and England bowler Fred Trueman.