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Regional journalist who also had rock music success dies aged 76

Andy GoldenA regional journalist who also had a successful musical career has died aged 76.

Tributes have been paid to Andy Golden, who began his career on the Salisbury Journal and later worked on the Sunday Mirror

Andy, pictured, was also known as a drummer in prog rock band Grandma Moses, which for two years was managed by Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan.

Among other famous artists, he also drummed for former Thin Lizzy guitarist Eric Bell.

Salisbury-born Andy began his career on the Journal after studying law and journalism and Salisbury College.

At the Journal, he played a major part in bringing reviews of concerts, records and performances into the newspaper as well as initiating ‘Sound Tracks’, a weekly modern music comment page.

Former Journal reporter Geoff Sweet told the paper: “I always looked upon him as a hero of mine, not just as a musician but also as a journalist.”

Andy later became a senior reporter for the Mirror Group, and became the Father of the Chapel for the Sunday Mirror for 10 years, first for the National Union of Journalists and then for the British Association of Journalists.

Former Grandma Moses bandmate Tom Thatcher wrote in an obituary for the Journal: “Not only was he a superlative investigative journalist, he also played a leading role in stabilising the Mirror Pension Fund when the theft and fraud perpetrated by Robert Maxwell and his associates came to light.

“Maxwell and his henchmen tried repeatedly to sack Andy for his union activities, but he saw them off time and time again: he and the Union started proceedings against the management and many came forward to give evidence in court on Andy’s behalf.

“The case was finally settled out of court in 1988.

“In a complete turnaround, the MGN pensioners voted for Andy to represent them as a Trustee on the Pension Scheme’s Trustee Board in October 1999 – Golden had not left the building.”

Andy died on 1 August of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and is survived by his former wife Linda, children Simon, Matthew, Jack and Helen, and seven grandchildren.