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Ex-editor and international football referee dies aged 89

Frank PhillipsA former editor who also served as an international football referee has died aged 89.

Tributes have been paid to Frank Phillips, who served as managing editor of titles including the Highland News, Football Times, Ross-shire Journal and the North Star during his career.

London-born Frank, pictured, moved to Scotland during his National Service with the Royal Air Force and combined journalism with refereeing in the Highland League and Scottish League in the 1970s.

A FIFA-listed referee, he also officiated Scotland v England exhibition game and had played for Arsenal reserves in his youth.

In 1978, Frank and his family emigrated to Canada, where he began working in the newspaper industry again and eventually became managing editor of the Nanaimo Daily Free Press.

Former Highland News and Football Times colleague David Love told the Inverness Courier: “Frank was a fine referee, well known for his demand for discipline but cognisant of footballers’ desire to win, having played the game himself.

“He was also a careful, accurate journalist, being a guide and mentor during my early career with the Highland News.

“He had enough faith in me to see the paper to print on a Saturday when he was at a game despite me still being a teenager.

“I learned a lot from him and I will never forget those days of hot metal and huge print machines rolling out thousands of Saturday night sports papers before I helped distribute them throughout the north of Scotland.”

Frank is survived by his wife Rena, children Gillian, Mark, Linda and Caroline, and 22 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.