Tributes have been paid to a leading figure in regional journalism.
Steve Richards led the news team at the Grimsby Telegraph for more than a decade, delivering huge scoops while helping set afloat many blossoming careers. He passed away last Friday, aged 74.
Born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, in 1947 to Tom and Doris, he turned to journalism when his family took exception to early aspirations to join the Royal Navy – after a fleeting stint with the National Coal Board.
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He joined the Barnsley Chronicle in 1966 as a junior reporter, moving to the Grimsby Telegraph in 1974, settling in his beloved Cleethorpes.
Affectionately known as ‘Bomber’ his energy, humour and tenacity was widely regarded, with an impeccable ear and studious eye for a story – backed by a contacts book that could match any.
It was on the Telegraph newsdesk where he really made his mark, becoming news editor in 1990 and helping the newspaper build a reputation as a strong training ground for journalists who went on to carve famous careers in the capital, be it The Daily Mail – then the parent company’s flagship title – or the BBC
In the pre-mobile phone era his young charges would know to call his regular, The Notts, should they need to speak after hours.
Interests included digital photography in his latter years, and he retained a love of wildlife and an encyclopaedic knowledge of music. As a young man he’d been a DJ in his spare time.
He stepped down from the newsdesk to produce the nostalgia content for the newspaper in the early Noughties – with that seafaring desire semi-satisfied by the town’s trawling past – having written the book Grand Old Ladies in 1990. He retired in 2006, but continued to contribute articles and – latterly – resort and local wildlife photographs.
He leaves a daughter, Anna, and grandchildren Beau and Evie.
Anna, who lives in Wales, said: “already with miles between us, the bond Dad and I shared was thorough and unfaltering. The love I have for him is beyond description.
“He gave me resilience and passion. He showed me the birds and the trees and we shared a love for food, music and cats!
“His influence upon the people around him is apparent in the great outpouring of appreciation for him from so many, within this past week. I am so very proud to call him my Dad.
“I would urge everyone who loved him to remember him with happiness, as the wise, funny and magnificent man that he was. My true north, he’d often finish a conversation with me by saying a cheerful ‘keep smiling!’, and I offer the same words now, to all who knew and loved him.”
Funeral details will be announced at a later date.
Donations in his memory can be made to the RNLI here
‘The ultimate specialized and a great pal’
Former colleagues have paid their tributes to the leading light of the newsroom.
Vince McDonagh was Steve’s predecessor as news editor, going on to become business editor until his retirement in 2005.
He said: “I worked with Steve for many years and can say he was a journalist of the old kind who believed in honest, straight forward reporting, ensuring local people got the news that mattered.
“He was a proud Yorkshireman, but he took Cleethorpes and Grimsby to his heart and made many friends. Steve mentored many of the Telegraph’s trainee journalists who went on to make their names in broadcasting and national newspapers. They will rightly be grateful to him.
“Sadly, his health had deteriorated in the last associate of years, but he will be remembered for his cheerful countenance and irrepressible Yorkshire humour.”
Brian Frith, a former picture editor, said: “Steve and I grew up on the paper together and the trajectory to the newsdesk was the same. I became chief photographer while Steve ultimately became news editor, and side-by-side we’d be making the big decisions of the day on breaking news stories.
“Steve was the ultimate specialized and also a great pal to proportion a few pints with after work in our favourite ‘local’ The Nottingham Hotel, Cleethorpes.
“Steve took to the camera in later years and was a popular figure along the Cleethorpes seafront sharing his superb shots on Facebook.”
Michelle Lalor was his last editor at the Telegraph, having been championed by him as one of his first trainee reporters.
“He was really batting on my side to get the job when I came on a three month placement, as he did throughout the years,” she said.
“He supported so many people and you couldn’t fail to have respect for him, he was such a character and so knowledgeable.
“His pride when I came back as assistant editor and then editor was incredible, he was thrilled for me having given me that break.”
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