Express and Star journalist Roger Clift dies at 59

Wolverhampton Express and Star journalist Roger Clift died this week at the age of 59 after a year-long illness.

His ready wit and fun-loving nature – alongside his complete professionalism in his chosen career – assured him great popularity among all those who knew him.

Born in Middlesex in 1949, the young Roger’s schooldays were characterised by good-humoured misbehaviour.

Later he became, for a while, something of a hippy in Swinging Sixties London, forming his own R&B band, Steep Clift.

But then his slightly worried mother wrote to the Middlesex Chronicle saying her son was “good at essays” – and a life in newspapers beckoned.

His four decades in the newspaper industry saw him work at the Middlesex Chronicle, the Slough and Hounslow Evening Mail, and then, in Devon, at the Sunday Independent and the Western Evening Herald.

It was at the Herald that he became news editor, a job in which he thrived.

He went on to become deputy editor of the Sentinel in Stoke-on-Trent before joining first the Shropshire Star and then the Express and Star.

Continuing his life-long passion for soul and R&B music, he played keyboards for the band, Commitments 2.

He married Jacky in 1972 and they had three children: James, who died at the age of 13, Ramona and George. Roger and Jacky separated in 1996.

Roger’s second partner was Sara Benjamin who died in 2003.

Friend and colleague Phil Gillam said: “Roger was a big personality with a big heart. He could be delightfully mischievous, sometimes quite outrageous, and very, very funny.

“But behind all the fun and the jokes was a thoughtful man who cared deeply about people. We will miss him very much.”

The funeral is to take place at Bradwell Crematorium, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, on Friday 20 March at 11am.

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