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Welsh journalist who helped launch pioneering dailies dies

Ralph SlaterA journalist who was part of a team of Welsh newspaper executives who helped launch two pioneering sister dailies has died.

Tributes have been paid to Ralph Slater, was a key member of a four-strong team transferred from the South Wales Echo and Western Mail to launch the Thomson Organisation’s award-winning Evening Echo and Evening Post at Hemel Hempstead in 1967.

Under Echo editor Ivor Lewis, they helped win a string of national awards as the papers pioneered web offset printing and computerised typesetting.

Ralph was deputy news editor under the late Bryan Stiles, a fellow Welshman who later went on to become a sub-editor on The Times, while the group also included the late David Francis, who was deputy editor, and Dudley Stevens, who was news editor before moving to London.

John Tylee, who also worked on the Echo news desk before moving to TRN’s London HQ, and then to Campaign, where he was associate editor, said: “When I joined the Evening Echo at Hemel Hempstead the paper was barely out of its nappies and I was a 21-year-old barely through my weekly paper training and nervously stepping into the much faster-moving world of evening newspapers.

“As the then deputy news editor, Ralph did so much to make that transition as smooth as possible. I always admired the skill with which he ran the newsdesk, his quick-thinking and the jokes that helped keep everybody calm and coping under pressure.

“And you usually knew the balloon was going up when Ralph looked up as you stepped through the newsroom door first thing in the morning and were told: ‘Don’t take your coat off.'”

When the then merged Evening Post-Echo closed in 1983, Ralph remained in Hertfordshire as a weekly newspaper editor.

In retirement, he and his wife Diane spent part of the year in Mauritius.

Ralph, who was in his 70s, died suddenly after the pair had spent an enjoyable day out in London.

His funeral will be at 2.20pm on Friday 16 June at Worthing Crematorium, Horsham Road, Findon, West Sussex BN14 0RG.

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  • June 9, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    I am very sorry to learn of Ralph’s passing. As John Tylee states above, he was an excellent journalist and a very decent guy with a good sense of humour. I served under him as a reporter for a number of years and will always be grateful for the encouragement and assistance that I received.

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