Former Journal dep ed Kevin Overbury dies aged 63

A former deputy editor of Newcastle daily The Journal, Newcastle has died after a long illness.

Kevin Overbury, 63, worked on local and national newspapers before becoming a leading journalism educator.

Overbury was brought up in Colchester, Essex. His passion for journalism began at an early age when he and a friend printed a small paper for their local housing estate.

He studied at Leeds University before returning to his home town to work as a reporter. Kevin, a keen walker, loved the North and returned to Leeds in 1975 to work as a sub-editor, copy-taster and designer on the Yorkshire Post – where he met and married fellow sub-editor Karen Simpson in 1982.

In 1985 he moved to the Sunday Telegraph, where he was chief sub of the colour magazine. He went on to work as a freelance sub on a number of national newspapers, including The Times, The Financial Times and The Daily Mail. He was also stone sub on Robert Maxwell’s ill-fated London Daily News.

He was deputy editor of The Journal from 1987 until 1992 and was a key member of the team who redesigned the paper when it moved from broadsheet to tabloid.

Kevin left The Journal to set up a PR and marketing company, The Full Works, which he ran for more than 14 years. His clients included Relate, the Hancock Museum in Newcastle and Northumbria Coalition Against Crime.

But his true love was newspapers and after several years of being a visiting lecturer at Sunderland University he took up a full-time role.

His enthusiasm and commitment helped make the university one of the biggest providers of undergraduate journalism education. Kevin became co-coordinator of journalism programmes and ensured that they all had NCTJ accreditation.

Kevin was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in January 2010 and, despite an apparently successful operation, the cancer returned last year and he died at the weekend.

Kevin is survived by his wife Karen – a columnist for The Journal and editor of its Homemaker property section – and children Michelle, 27, and Philip, 23.

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