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Journalist who held top jobs on regional daily dies aged 98

A journalist who started out sweeping the printroom floor and went on to hold top jobs on a regional daily has died aged 98.

Tributes have been paid to Leslie Parkin, who served as chief sub-editor and later chief assistant editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Leslie, pictured, also worked on the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening News during a career in newspapers which had begun on the Batley News aged just 13.

He retired in 1990.

Leslie Parkin

In an obituary for the YEP, his daughter Jill wrote: “Leslie’s family couldn’t afford to pay for an indentured apprenticeship on a local paper, so he did it the hard way.

“His training on the Batley News included almost every possible job – cycling round reading local notice boards for ‘pars’, stoking the boiler, sweeping the printroom floor and tidying the hot metal trays.

“It was that which led to his career-long rapport with the powerful and notoriously militant printers of the day.”

Describing his career, she added: “It was a world of fast page changes and fast decisions. In it a layout man with a pencil and a paper pad in front of him could draw up his front page and hardly have time to tuck his pencil behind his ear before re-doing the whole thing for the next edition.

“Les, as chief sub and later chief assistant editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post, enjoyed every one of those decisions. He once moved the masthead of the paper to run it down the side of the front page to make room for a particularly important story.

“His headlines were brief and tuned in to the readership. Serial killer Peter Sutcliffe was committed for trial with the terse words: ‘It’s the Old Bailey’. Everyone in the county knew what that meant.”

Leslie is survived by wife Eileen, daughters Janet and Jill, grandchildren Rosie, Jack and Beth, and great-grandson Charlie.