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Sports editor who became ‘tireless champion’ for stroke survivors dies aged 58

Martin WarrilowA regional sports editor who became a “tireless champion” for his fellow stroke survivors has died aged 58.

Tributes have been paid to Martin Warrilow, who spent 17 years on the sportsdesk of the Birmingham Post.

Martin, pictured, also worked for the Tamworth Herald and also served as sports editor at the Sutton Coldfield Observer during his career.

He was also a “highly effective” NUJ rep for his colleagues until redundancy in 2009 following editorial restructuring, at which time he was assistant content editor for sport at the Post.

Martin subsequently became editor of the British Naturism magazine, an 80-page quarterly publication serving the organisation’s 11,000 members.

He also ran his own company, Martin Warrillow Publishing Services, from 2010 until suffering a “debilitating” stroke in 2013.

In an obituary, former colleague Tony Collins wrote: “Despite the stroke forcing him to re-learn how to walk and write, Martin became a tireless champion for other stroke survivors.

“After acknowledging that his own situation was as a result of stress, he devoted his time and energy to warning others about the risk factors behind strokes.

“This was through a series of talks, as well as his own blog, called The Warrior, which he started in 2014, and a monthly podcast.

“Martin also helped with research into the causes of strokes and fundraising for stroke survivor charities.”

Martin began his career on the Herald in 1987 after graduating from Loughborough University with BA Hons in European Political Studies and Modern European Studies.

It was in Tamworth where he was introduced to his devoted wife Carmel.

He joined the Observer in 1990, the same year he and Carmel married, before moving to Birmmingham two years later.

Sam Holliday, who was Martin’s sports editor at the Herald and also served as best man at his wedding, said: “When I first met Martin, he was a quiet individual, but it was amazing how coming to Tamworth transformed him.

“Not only did he find lots of great friends, but he also found Carmel.

“He was a very good journalist who wrote well and knew so much about so many different sports. But he also touched so many people in his stroke talks and probably helped to save people’s lives without realising it.

“I think he would be amazed and pleased at how much love and affection came his way.”

Tamworth Football Club held a minute’s applause at their match against Hitchin Town on Saturday 22 October in honour of Martin, who had supported the club since he first joined the Herald.

A funeral service will be held on Friday 18 November at midday at St John’s Church, St Johns Street, Tamworth.