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Weekly editor who went to Fleet Street and back dies aged 80

Roger BolamA weekly newspaper editor whose career took him from the regional press to Fleet Street and back has died aged 80.

Tributes have been to Roger Bolam, left, who was editor in chief of the Northumberland Herald and Post, and also served as deputy editor at the Newcastle-based Sunday Sun.

During his career, Roger also worked at Newcastle dailies The Chronicle and The Journal, as well as working for The Times from 1963 to 1972.

Former colleagues have described him as the “ultimate professional” who was also remembered as “engagingly eccentric – in the best possible way”.

Alistair Baker, who was the Sun’s news editor when Roger worked there, said: “Roger was a real traditional gentleman father of the press who had printers ink flowing through his veins.

“His passion in pursuit of getting after the facts and balancing every side for a responsible, truthful story was almost as strong as his immense pride in his family.

“Roger was a true faithful father of both the press and his family. He leaves a legacy through all those many journalists he helped to nurture over the years of his long and much respected career as well as with those he touched as a kind decent loving colleague, friend and father.”

Roger was brought up in Staffordshire, the son of former Daily Mirror editor Silvester Bolam. and completed National Service in the Royal Air Force.

He joined The Journal as a reporter in 1959, before making the move to The Times four years late.

In 1972, he returned to Newcastle and rose to become production editor on The Chronicle, before making the switch to the Sun.

He left in 1996 to take on the Herald and Post.

Marilyn Over, who was deputy chief sub-editor at The Chronicle when Roger was production editor, said: “I have very happy memories of working with Roger. He was a great colleague and a real character – kind, professional and engagingly eccentric, in the best possible way.”

After suffering a suspected fatal heart attack, Roger leaves a wife, Ann, three sons – Matthew, Mark and William – and six grandchildren.

Roger’s funeral is to be held tomorrow at St Cuthbert’s Church in Elsdon, the Northumberland village where the couple raised their family for many years.

A wake is planned in the local pub, The Bird in Bush, which will be stocking 30 different types of gin, Roger’s favourite drink, for those attending to try.

His son Matthew said: “My dad didn’t have a bad word to say about anybody and was very well-liked. He loved mixing with all the locals after work in the pub. He had no airs and graces. He also did a lot of voluntary work in the community.”


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  • July 26, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Factual correction – the Northumberland Herald and Post, based in Morpeth, and the Morpeth Herald were not the same paper. The then Tweeddale Press-owned Herald even ran a front page editorial when the Weekly Courier joined other Thomson free weeklies in adopting the Herald and Post name to alert readers to the confusion.

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  • July 26, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Fond, fond memories of a chap who drove into Newcastle from rural Northumberland at all hours in a rickety Renault to serve hot drinks and butties he and his wife had made for the picket line during the strike of winter 1978. Peter was ‘management’ and didn’t actually agree with the action but nevertheless wanted to give all the support he could to the people involved in it. Typical of a man, who, as Marilyn and Alistair say above, was a true gent as well as a great professional.

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