Bill Randle - For half a century, a chronicler of life in Nuneaton

Much-respected
journalist Bill Randle, who spent half a century chronicling events in
and around his home town of Nuneaton in Warwickshire, has died, aged 97.

He
retired as chief reporter at the Coventry Evening Telegraph’s Nuneaton
office in December 1972, but then freelanced part time, mainly covering
courts and inquests, for the Evening Telegraph and the Leicester
Mercury.

Bill began his career on the nowdefunct Nuneaton
Chronicle and worked for the Nuneaton Observer for 20 years before
moving to the Evening Telegraph in 1950.

Only two years during his long career were spent outside Nuneaton, on papers in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, and Derbyshire.

Shortly
after his retirement from fulltime work, Bill and his wife Madge were
invited to the Mayor’s Parlour in Nuneaton – which he had visited
countless times on assignments – to sign the visitors’ book.

Always
immaculately dressed, Bill was a real gentleman – one of the old school
of journalists who spent countless hours recording events, speeches and
council debates in superbly neat and accurate Pitman’s shorthand.

Often when reporting on inquests, he made up the jury numbers and acted as jury foreman for 5s (25p) a time.

Bill
was an inspiration and mentor to countless young journalists who went
on to work for national newspapers, including John Askill (The Sun),
Colin Webster and Peter Beale (PA).

I remain eternally grateful
for the help and guidance Bill gave me in the early 1970s when, as a
newcomer to Nuneaton, I often sat alongside him while reporting for the
old Evening Tribune… especially when I had difficulty keeping up with
a speaker, or reading a shorthand outline, and he came to the rescue!

Bill
was always willing to pass on his immense knowledge to young
journalists and I have followed in his footsteps by doing the same to
put something back into a profession I love. I visited him in
retirement, but we lost touch in recent years.

Although blind in the last decade of his life, he remained a true gentleman.

John
Askill remembers Bill from their days working together in ‘The Bunker’,
an often sweltering windowless room beneath a car park at the back of
the Evening Telegraph office.

John said: “He was a true
gentleman, crafting his stories from morning magistrates court into his
typewriter with care and pride. Then suddenly he’d be on his feet and
bouncing off to an afternoon meeting of the borough council. A tireless
worker, in love with the job, always with a smile.”

Bill was a life member of the NUJ.

His wife died in 1998, and he leaves a daughter Valerie, two grand-daughters and two great grand-daughters.

Roger Jones

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