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Journalist who also ran nightclub dies suddenly aged 68

Martin LawsonA journalist who also ran a nightclub with a newspaper-themed name has died suddenly aged 68.

Tributes have been paid to Martin Lawson, who was known for his work both in Cumbria and for national publications.

Workington-born Martin, pictured, began his career as a trainee in 1972 with Carlisle’s Border Press.

He later became a founding partner of the Carlisle News Agency in the late 1970s, while his career also included significant periods at the BBC, TV-am, Sky and AP.

John Ryley, head of Sky News, told the Carlisle News & Star: “Martin was a formidable journalist playing a big part in building Sky News’ reputation for accurate journalism.

“He was wonderfully direct – and a warm, funny, kind individual who helped steer so many people’s careers in broadcasting.”

Away from journalism, Martin co-founded Carlisle nightclub, the Front Page Club, in 1984, alongside his friend Bob Mungall. Acts to play there included Ronnie Scott, Jack Bruce, Steve Marriott and Bert Jansch.

He also set up Paint It Red magazine in Newcastle and a sister record company.

His friend Jay Williams told the News & Star: “He was great company and had a fantastically dry sense of humour. He was also a great lover of music – from folk and jazz to rock – and a true champion of music in the north.

“As many young musicians as cub reporters owe him a debt of gratitude.”

Martin is survived by his wife Barbara Gibbon, former director of production and operations at Sky Creative, as well as his sisters Susan and Helen.