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Regional daily’s ‘longest-serving contributor’ dies aged 90

John Simpson BelfastA regional daily’s “longest-serving contributor” has died at the age of 90.

Tributes have been paid to John Simpson, pictured, who wrote regular columns for the Business Telegraph and its sister magazine Ulster Business until recently.

He was the author of the Belfast Telegraph’s Top 100 Companies, a flagship publication which he led for more than 20 years.

A former economics lecturer at Queen’s University, he was also a long-serving chairman of the panel of judges at the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards before stepping down in 2018.

Eoin Brannigan, Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life editor-in-chief, said: “I was very sad to hear about John’s death. I had the pleasure of sitting with him at one of our Top 100 events and found him fascinating company with plenty of stories to keep all within earshot entertained.

“His knowledge of business, local and international, was second to none, and the respect in which he was held was clear. My condolences to his daughters and grandsons.”

Bel Tel business editor Margaret Canning added: “John made a huge contribution to our coverage and we will truly miss him.

“He kept a watchful eye on companies’ performance, public spending and economic trends. The breadth of his knowledge was and still is unmatched.

“He was always utterly impartial and independent-minded, and that ensured he had the ear of many influential people.

“John was always ready to provide a comment on the economy and company results to us. It didn’t matter how much or how little you knew about the subject you were calling him about –he was always so obliging and treated everyone equally.

“He was consistently good-humoured, and when you call him up with a query and asked how he was, he would always quip ‘I’m awake!’

“True to his unflagging work ethic, John was concerned about his deadlines right up until the end. We’ll miss him hugely.”

John died last week in Antrim Area Hospital after a short illness.

He is survived by daughters Joanne and Susan, as well as grandsons Ryan and Connor.