who died last month, started his newspaper career as a 17-year-old
messenger for his home city Glasgow’s Daily Record. After weeks of
serving up tea and carting around papers to staff, he was asked to
write his first story on 6 February 1958 – the front-page splash on
Manchester United’s plane crash tragedy. The library had only a
oneparagraph cutting about the team and Bob was the only person in the
office who knew about English football. The editor read Bob’s story and
offered him a job there and then.
Bob never did anything by
halves for the rest of his career. After the Record he worked on the
Daily Mirror in London and the Scottish Daily Express in Glasgow –
where, at 25, he became the youngest night editor on a British national
In 1966 he was head-hunted by Derek Webster to join
the Daily Mirror subs team in Manchester and rose to become chief
sub-editor three years later, at the age of 29.
In 1976 Bob moved
to the city’s Great Ancoats Street where he worked as Then in 1978 he
became the first chief sub of the new Daily Star in Manchester, quickly
moving on to the back bench.
Bob opted out of nationals for
several years in the late 1980s and 1990s, working at the Blackpool
Evening Gazette and later becoming group editor of the Citizen
newspapers based in his adopted home town of St Annes, Lancashire.
1997 Bob lost his beloved first wife Audrie to cancer. He found love
again with Karen and the couple were married in 2000. For the past five
years Bob was a proud stepdad to Karen’s two sons, Richard, 15, and
Bob, who had a fine singing voice, was a renowned
party-giver and genial host, and few gatherings escaped without him
giving them a splendid rendition of his beloved Flower of Scotland.
2002, when the Daily Star launched its Sunday edition and moved its
national subbing operation from London to Preston, Lancashire, he was
brought in as a capable pair of hands.
Bob died peacefully at
home on 31 October, aged 64, following a five-month battle against
cancer. His funeral was held on 9 November at St Cuthbert’s Church in
By Helen Moss, Steve Henry and Sally Fowler