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Newdesk chief who worked into old age dies aged 90

A regional newsdesk chief who worked until he was almost 80 has died at the age of 90.

Tributes have been paid to Les Chamberlain, who spent 16 years as deputy news editor on the Wrexham Leader.

Les, pictured, was also known for his ‘Terrace Talk’ sports column which ran for 30 years on the Leader’s back page.

He continued to write ‘Terrace Talk’ until his retirement aged 79.

Les Chamberlain

Les was also the father of journalist Gethin Chamberlain, the former Asia correspondent of The Observer, foreign correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph and chief reporter of The Scotsman.


Said Gethin: “I was always interested in journalism, but seeing him in action was so inspiring – he was an inspiring guy and I was always a huge fan of his writing.

“The way he went about his journalism, the hundreds of contacts he had – if you walked with him through Wrexham, every five paces he’d see someone who knew him and stopped to talk.

“To be liked that much and still maintain a journalistic career says a lot.”

Les spent the first two years of his career on the Cambrian News in his hometown of Aberystwyth, before joining the Nottingham Evening Post and Guardian Journal.

He then joined The Coventry Evening Telegraph as a general reporter and After five years was invited to join the Coventry office of the Birmingham Mail.

There, Les spent five years as a soccer writer covering Coventry City and a theatre critic before moving back to the Telegraph to do the same two jobs.

His football and theatre writing skills were then transferred to the Leader, where he covered Wrexham AFC before moving on to the newsdesk in the early 1980s.

Former Telegraph colleague Roly Smith said: “I often think back to those great days we had on the Coventry Telegraph.

“It’s when I learned from people like Les how it was to be a proper professional journalist and I’ll always be grateful for that.”

Peter Swingler, of Tip Top Productions theatre in Chester, added “I believe that Wrexham people will always be grateful to Les for allowing theatres, choirs, arts groups etc. the opportunity to promote their event in his weekly column.

“Over the years he must have indirectly contributed a great deal of time to the community. Les, we will miss you.”

Away from journalism, Les was a brass bands enthusiast who, at various stages in his life, played euphonium in the Aberystwyth British Legion Silver Band, the RAF Hednesford station band during his National Service, and the City of Coventry Police Band.