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Veteran newspaper publisher Sir Ray Tindle dies aged 95

Ray TindleVeteran regional newspaper proprietor Sir Ray Tindle has died aged 95.

Sir Ray chaired Tindle Newspapers until he turned 90 and served as the group’s president thereafter, following a career that had begun in the 1940s.

Tindle Newspapers now owns local papers and radio stations covering parts of Wales, Surrey, Hampshire, Essex, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Ireland, the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man.

Sir Ray, pictured, also held major industry roles including president of the Newspaper Society, fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, fellow of the Chartered Institute of Journalists and member of the Guild of Editors.

In a statement, Tindle Newspapers said: “Sir Ray was a man of immense self-belief and iron determination as characterised by his coat of arms, carried by all his newspapers, with the motto Noli Cedere, which translates as Never Surrender.

“It was an attitude which successfully carried his empire though six recessions and led Sir Ray to go from being a ‘general dogsbody’ on the Croydon Times in the post-war years to building up a company previously in the Sunday Times Rich List.

“Sir Ray attributed a great deal of the company’s success to the fact it had always remained debt-free.

“It was his proud boast that every title he had purchased or created had been entirely self-financed. This meant that when economic times turned harsh, the company did not have to concern itself with paying dividends to shareholders or be at the mercy of the banks.”

Born in 1926, the son of John Robert and Maud Tindle, he was evacuated from London during the Second World War and educated at the Torquay Boys’ Grammar School.

After leaving school he went on to enlist in the 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment, an infantry regiment in the British Army.

Sir Ray saw service in the Far East between 1944 and 1947, rising to the rank of captain before acquiring his first newspaper title, the Tooting & Balham Gazette, with his £300 demob payment.

He went on to expand his newspaper empire across the country over the following seven decades.

The Tindle Newspapers statement added: “It was always the Tindle philosophy that his titles should be ‘ultra-local’ and he would often impress on his staff that what he wanted to see in his papers were local names, places and faces.

“He firmly believed local newspapers could provide the detailed community content that larger papers and online media could not.”

Sir Ray served as chairman of the Surrey Advertiser until 1977, director of The Guardian & Manchester Evening News for 18 years and chairman of the Belfast News Letter for 10 years, as well as founder shareholder and alternate director of Capital Radio.

He was elected president of the Newspaper Society in 1971 and was its honorary treasurer for 14 years, celebrating half a century of involvement with the body in 2002, as well as being a past president of the Wessex Newspaper Association, the Greater London Newspaper Association and the Young Newspaperman’s Association.

The publisher became Master of the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers in 1985 after some 20 years of service on several committees and of the court, and was the 1990-91 chairman of the Appeal for the Newspaper Press Fund.

Sir Ray was also involved with community bodies and philanthropic activities in Surrey, especially the town of Farnham, which he had made his home in the 1960s.

In 1973 he was appointed OBE for services to the newspaper industry and in 1987 he was appointed CBE.

Two years later he became a Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Surrey and was knighted in 1994.

His wife Lady Tindle, who he had known since the age of seven and married in 1949, was made an MBE in 2008 for her charitable work too.

He is survived by her, his son Owen, who took over the chairmanship of Tindle Newspapers from his father five years ago, and granddaughter Maisy.