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Newspaper honours journalist’s 80 years’ service with front page tribute

A newsroom “legend” who wrote for the same weekly newspaper for almost 80 years has died aged 93.

Tributes have been paid to Frank Sellens, who dictated his last column for the Kent & Sussex Courier from his hospital bed just a few weeks ago and whose association with the paper spanned nine decades.

Frank, pictured, joined the Tunbridge Wells-based Courier aged 14 in 1939, where he was one of four reporters sharing two typewriters and one phone.

The Courier’s devoted the front page of this week’s Sussex edition to Frank’s passing following his death on Wednesday, with two pages of tributes featuring inside.

Frank's page

Former Courier editor Ian Read said: “Frank was quite simply a Courier legend. A true gentleman, he was always impeccably dressed, utterly charming and brimming with good humour. His writing sparkled, and there was nothing about the local area he didn’t know.”

He added: “Chatting to him, you understood that you didn’t simply work for a newspaper – you were part of a living, breathing local history that really mattered. Working with him was an absolute privilege.”

Frank’s lifetime of service at the Courier was only interrupted when, having just turned 18, he volunteered for air crew training.

But his knowledge of shorthand, typing and Morse Code saw him put to work on the ground, at one time with the RAF’s 102 Squadron.

He returned to the Courier after the cessation of hostilities, and would later say he “never wanted to work anywhere else”.

After leaving frontline reporting, Frank continued to write his Sussex Notebook – a fixture of the newspaper’s nostalgia pages.

Long-serving reporter Faith Lee, who joined the Courier in 1969, described Frank as an “inspiration”.

“He was my mentor, the person who encouraged me to go out and find my own stories, to be accurate and to nurture my contacts,” she said.

“He was an old-fashioned journalist, someone held in such tremendous esteem by everyone because they could trust him.”

A funeral date for Frank has not yet been set.


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  • March 23, 2018 at 9:31 am

    The word “legend” springs to mind, of course.
    But what do/does “tea chers” mean in the single-column headline on the front page?

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  • March 23, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    “His writing sparkled, and there was nothing about the local area he didn’t know.”
    They won’t be saying that about the 21st century generation of young reporters, mostly writing from some distant hub about places they have never been to or even heard of.
    I wish I had met this guy. RIP

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  • March 23, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Hi Steve. Unfortunately the screen grab I sent http has reproduced in a strange way. I can assure you the paper which hit the shelves this morning has teachers as one word!

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  • March 23, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    Hi Gabriel.
    Mystery solved! I thought it was st-rang-e!!!

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