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‘Amazing’ editor who ran weekly for 26 years dies aged 85

Gerry IsaamanAn “amazing” editor who ran a weekly newspaper for 26 years and worked for it for almost 40 has died aged 85.

Tributes have been paid to Gerry Isaaman, left, who edited the Hampstead & Highgate Express between 1968 and 1994, having originally joined the title in 1955.

According to the Ham & High, he was often regarded as ‘Mr Hampstead’ due to his popularity on his patch.

Matthew Lewin, who joined the paper as a reporter under his leadership in 1973 and later succeeded him as editor, credited him with making the title what it is today.

He told the paper: “He was amazing. He made the Ham&High what it became, and had this unique vision of producing news of fantastic quality and at the same time reporting on what he called the ‘good things in life’ – arts, the theatre and culture. It was quite extraordinary the stable of book reviewers he had.

“He was a fantastic mentor. When I started, I thought I knew what journalism was and I didn’t. He really did show me what it could mean.”

Matthew added: “He was brilliant with people. He knew everybody. At council meetings he would float around the outside, and come back with about 16 stories on the back of an envelope.

“I remember his walking tours of Hampstead, where he would know everyone and everything about the area. He was interested in everybody, and interviewed everyone he ever met.”

Gerry began his career on the Stoke Newington and Hackney Observer in 1950, moving to the Ham & High five years later. He held the role of chief reporter before taking on its editorship.

After leaving the paper he worked as a features writer on the Camden New Journal and, in retirement, set up a community newspaper in Marlborough, Wiltshire.

Gerry, who died on 29 April, is survived by wife Delphine, son Dan and a grandchild. A date for his cremation is yet to be arranged.

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  • May 7, 2019 at 10:50 am

    One thing is for certain. We shall never see his like again. RIP

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