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Journalist whose career spanned nine decades dies aged 94

A weekly journalist whose career spanned nine decades has died aged 94.

Terry Sutton first joined the Dover Express in 1949 after completing his national service and wrote his last published story in August 2022.

Such was his in-depth knowledge of the town that he became known as Mr Dover by many, and he was made an honorary freeman of the town in 2011.

Terry, pictured below, passed away last Monday.   His death was announced by the civic group the Dover Society, of which he was a founding member.


Its online statement said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Terry Sutton. He was well respected and known throughout the town and in journalistic circles. He was known as Mr Dover by many.”

Terry was born in the town in 1929 but evacuated to Wales during WW2 when the port was heavily bombed.

Returning to the town after national service, he joined the Express aged 20 and remained on the staff for 45 years until his retirement in 1994.

Thereafter he continued to contribute to the title on a freelance basis as associate editor until 18 months ago.

Over the course of his career Terry covered some of Dover’s biggest stories including the Channel Tunnel building and the sinking of Dover ferry the Herald of Free Enterprise in 1987, in which 193 people were killed.

Terry had the unenviable job of calling on the homes of bereaved families and was often sent away with four letter words.

On his 62nd birthday in 1991, he received an MBE at Buckingham Palace for his services to journalism, but the medal was stolen in a burglary at his house a few weeks later.

Clare Jardine, who worked with Terry in the 1980s at the start of her career and went on to edit the Express, was among those who paid tribute.

She said: “He was a great mentor for us and a brilliant advocate for Dover. It is amazing to think he retired back in the’ 90s but continued reporting for so many more years.

“Several newspaper companies owe him a massive debt for all the work he did for their titles on a voluntary basis just because he loved Dover and reporting on the community he loved.”

Malcolm Mitchell, former editor of the East Kent Mercury, said: “When I first met Terry back in the ‘50s I decided I wanted to be a journalist like him but I never became as good as him. There was only one Mr Dover. The town and port will miss him.”

And former Mercury reporter Graham Tutthill said: “He was one of the most prolific reporters I ever worked with.”

Chairman of Dover District Council, Cllr Gordon Cowan, said: “Generations of councillors and officers, long before the creation of DDC in 1974 were on the receiving end of Terry’s inquisitive and probing questions.

“He had a passion for news which kept us on our toes, but at the heart of it was his love of Dover, his life-long home town.

“There was rarely an event in Dover where Terry wasn’t there. Dover has lost one of its greatest ambassadors and he will be sadly missed.”

Terry leaves a wife of 53 years, Danielle, and daughter Josephine, now aged 51.