Tributes to former Spalding Guardian editor

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A former editor of the Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian, Clive Brown, died in Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital in the early hours of Sunday. He was aged 82.

Clive had a long career in journalism, a field in which he was greatly respected by colleagues, and also won the respect of fellow members of The Rotary Club of South Holland for his outstanding commitment to voluntary service.

Clive Brown during a memorable foot-plate ride on the Flying Scotsman. ANL-160330-131142001

Clive Brown during a memorable foot-plate ride on the Flying Scotsman. ANL-160330-131142001

Free Press and Guardian reporter Jean Hodge, who worked with Clive in the late 1980s and early 1990s, said: “Clive cared passionately about this area and these newspapers and worked tirelessly to produce well-written stories that reflected the concerns of their readers.

“In his retirement he contributed articles on behalf of the Rotary Club of South Holland, and continued to be interested in the papers.

“In fact, just recently he told staff he thought they were doing a good job, which was gratifying to hear coming from one of the old-school style of newspaper editors with exacting standards!”

Long standing friend and Rotarian Steve Colby said: “He was one of the most genuine, kind, thoughtful, gentle and helpful people you could ever meet and was respected by everyone.

Clive was a caring, compassionate, deep-thinking friend with a bright mind, a gentle wit and a clear turn of phrase. He cared deeply about his role in society and used his talents, especially those developed during his time as editor of the Free Press and Guardian, to good effect to help wherever he could.

Rotarian Peter Kite

“His opinions, views and questions were always considered and sensible and in addition he had a wicked sense of humour.

“He would make funny, witty, cutting comments and always was able to ask the awkward question of officialdom.

“Clive worked tirelessly in supporting St Barnabas Hospice in Spalding and was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship, Rotary’s highest award, for this work and for his continued contribution to the local community. He was proud of the award but always wore its badge humbly on his jacket.”

Clive was born and brought up in Peterborough, leaving school aged 16 and becoming a trainee journalist with the Peterborough Standard.

Peterborough was also the place where he met his soul-mate, Mary, and married her in 1955.

Steve says, in later life, Clive often told the story of how they first met and how he fell in love at first sight.

Their son, Graham, said this week: “Dad was absolutely devoted to mum and it was obviously a huge blow to him when mum died. He often talked about mum and the years they had together.”

Mary passed away in 2001.

Chris Chew recalls Clive joining the Rotary Club of South Holland in the late 1980s and described him as “the kind of member most organisations would give their eye teeth for” because of his many attributes, including wise counsel, reliability and dedication.

Chris said: “His journalistic talent and way with words were used to amazing effect as he led the way on publicity for numerous events and Rotary activities. Music in the Park, Polio eradication, and formal functions were all reported on in the same professional way and were thoroughly readable.

“Clive understood what it meant to lose someone special when his wife and soul mate Mary sadly died from cancer.

“Clive made a significant contribution to the setting up of the project to provide initial funding for ‘night care’ cover through the St Barnabas organisation which in its initial stages was funded by the South Holland Rotary Club using a legacy left to the club for the people of Spalding.

“Members might say that he could be described as the ‘conscience’ of our Rotary Club. He will leave a huge gap in our Rotary Club.

“It has been a privilege to have him as a friend and fellow Rotarian.”

Another of Clive’s Rotary club colleagues, Peter Kite, told us: “Clive was a caring, compassionate, deep-thinking friend with a bright mind, a gentle wit and a clear turn of phrase. He cared deeply about his role in society and used his talents, especially those developed during his time as editor of the Free Press and Guardian, to good effect to help wherever he could.

“As a valued member of the Rotary movement, Clive would often bring a clear solution to discussions within our club; after listening intently to the varying views and thinking the matter through carefully, he would then produce a clear, plainly-stated but firmly-held opinion. And that opinion generally held sway with the rest of us. He will be greatly missed, both as a wise counsellor and a true friend.”

Clive Brown edited our newspapers from the spring of 1984 until retirement in August 1995.

He began his career in journalism with the Peterborough Standard, moving to the Huntingdon Post and while there became news editor before returning to the Peterborough Standard as editor.

In 1970 he became head of public relations with the Peterborough Development Corporation and did similar public relations work with International Stores and Telford Development Corporation. He returned to newspapers in 1979 with the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph, running its Wellingborough office, and became editor of the Harborough Mail in 1982.

The son of a railwayman, Clive had a life-long passion for railways, and had a memorable encounter with the Flying Scotsman.

He was an Arsenal fan, played cricket in his younger days, had enjoyed golf and played indoor bowls in Spalding with Mary.

Clive leaves family including his son, Graham, daughter-in-law Kathie, brothers Trevor and Gordon, and a sister, Maureen Burnicle.

• Details of his funeral service will be announced later.