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Former regional newspaper owner Robin Burgess dies aged 68

Robin B

Tributes have been paid to a former newspaper proprietor who has died from cancer nearly 12 months after selling his family-owned publishing firm.

Robin Burgess was the fourth generation of his family to run the Carlisle-based CN Group, publisher of News & Star, Carlisle, The Mail, Barrow, and a series of sister weeklies.

Robin, pictured, stepped down as managing director of the group on his 65th birthday in 2016 before the company was sold to Newsquest last year.

He died, aged 68, at his home in Scaleby, Cumbria on Friday following a battle with cancer.

Jonathan Lee, managing director of Newsquest Cumbria, said: “This is such sad news. Robin was a true gentleman, highly respected across the industry and across the community.

“He was passionate about making sure the media served its community, always taking a keen interest in everyone he met. He will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him. All our thoughts are with Alex and the family.”

David Newell, chief executive of the News Media Association added: “Robin Burgess was a newspaper publisher of principle and integrity, who understood the community role of local newspapers and their capacity for public good.

“He served the Newspaper Society as President and in this role and other industry positions was a robust defender of the freedom to publish and the need for the industry to stand together against state interference and regulation. On all the big calls, his judgment was right, and the newsmedia world will miss his strong, independent voice.”

Robin leaves a wife Alex and four children, Rose, Kate, Rachel and James.

A family spokesman said:  “Robin was a very good, decent and kind man, aware of his responsibilities to his community and all around him. He loved his family, his county and his newspapers. We shall miss him.”

Robin was awarded the Journalists’ Charity Award for services to the industry at the 2015 Regional Press Awards on a day when two of his group’s titles – the News & Star and the Cumberland News – also won Newspaper of the Year prizes.

A private funeral will be held in Scaleby with a memorial service to be held later in Carlisle.


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  • February 25, 2019 at 10:23 am

    A true gentleman of the highest order. A newspaper man through and through and one of life’s good guys.
    I am proud to have worked for him and my thoughts are with his family.

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  • February 25, 2019 at 11:47 am

    I echo Guy Forester’s tribute. Robin kept alive the spirit and culture of 19th and 20th century family newspaper ownership long after most families had retired from the fray. He fought hard against the prevailing winds of change – both economic and technological – in the hope of preserving what was best about local newspapers: their special service to the public and their close relationship with the community. Cumbria will not see his like again.

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  • February 25, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Lovely, lovely man. Robin was that rarest of creatures – an approachable boss who would listen to anyone on his staff, not just managers. And you could tell he cared. A lesser man would have sold the company and walked away as soon as the going got tough. Selling CN Group must have broken his heart.

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  • February 25, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    A great man, and a great leader, was a pleasure to know, and a pleasure to work for, he will be sadly missed.

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  • February 25, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    True leaders care. Robin really cared – about his colleagues, his newspapers and the communities they served. Whatever challenges the future brings, let’s hope his legacy of caring lives on. My thoughts are with his family.

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  • February 25, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Impressive tributes. How many newspaper owners could attract such admiration? Very few in the future I fear.

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  • February 26, 2019 at 10:18 am

    Robin was a giant of a man within the regional newspaper industry and held freedom of the Press, reporting integrity and community involvement high on his list of publishing ethos. His contribution to the newspaper world in the commercial and social arena was immense, especially within the portals of the Young Newspapermen’s Association – days never to be forgotten.

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