Brian Cummins

Brian Cummins, who edited weekly newspapers for more than 30 years
and was one of the pioneers of the NVQ system in the industry, has died
aged 69.

He began his career as an editorial assistant at Reuters
news agency in Fleet Street. Reporting for west London weeklies
followed, then National Service in the RAF and a spell writing in the
press department of the Rank Organisation.

After returning to
reporting on the Middlesex County Times and Uxbridge Gazette, Brian
became a sub-editor on the Harrow Observer and then on the Westminster
Press titles.

He was one of the youngest editors in the country
when appointed editor of the Middlesex County Times at the age of 26.
Soon afterwards he was chosen to edit the Hillingdon Mirror, a newly
launched tabloid newspaper at Uxbridge and one of the first weeklies to
use full-colour photographs.

Brian edited the Mirror for 26 years, winning national awards for the design of the paper.

In
the latter years of his career, he was able to develop his special
interest in journalism training, while continuing as executive editor
of the South London Guardian series. A supporter for many years of the
National Council for the Training of Journalists, whose proficiency
certificate he gained as a young reporter, in later years Brian became
National Vocational Qualifications centre manager for Reed Regional
Newspapers (London), now Newsquest (London) and part of the American
Gannett organisation.

Brian continued to assess and verify for
the NVQ scheme after retiring to Wellington, Herefordshire, with his
wife Wendy, in 1999. He was also a member of the Guild of Editors (now
the Society of Editors) and had served as secretary and chairman of its
London and Home Counties region.

Brian’s funeral was held at the village church in Wellington. He leaves two sons, Simon and Timothy.

By Richard Shields

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