Free newspaper pioneer Ben Clingain dies aged 68

Ben Clingain, a former director at a pioneering free newspaper group, has died aged 68.

Clingain, one of the founders of the Northants Post, died after a heart attack last week in the United States.

He was advertising director and then chairman of the Post, which launched in Northampton in 1975.

With partners including journalists Tony and Marie Boullemier, they built the group up to 11 titles circulating 400,000 copies a week in four counties, plus a stable of monthly glossy magazines.

By the time they sold out to Thomson Regional Newspapers in 1988 they employed 230 staff.

Ex-Daily Express journalist Tony Boullemier, who was the Post’s former managing director, said: ‘It’s very sad news. Ben was an inspirational person to work with. His selling skills, sharp brain and unfailing optimism helped see us through difficult times against fierce opposition.”

After the sale, Ben was made managing director of Thomson’s Peterborough centre before returning to manage Northampton in 1989. He left the company a year later.

An American citizen, he later returned to the US to live in Cleveland, Ohio.

He was married and divorced twice and had four children and four grandchildren.

The Post is now published by LSN Media as the Northampton Herald & Post.

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