Funeral date set for 'brilliant storyteller' Whittle

By Jon Slattery

The
funeral of Brian Whittle, the boss of the Cavendish Press news agency
in Manchester who has died aged 59, will be held on Tuesday.

Whittle collapsed on Friday at a party in Manchester to mark the
final departure of the Daily Express, Sunday Express and Daily Star
from the city.

His funeral will be held at St Vincent de Paul RC
Church, Tatton Street, Knutsford, at 1pm. A wake will be held at The
Cottons Hotel and Spa, Manchester Road, Knutsford.

Whittle\’s
career spanned the local and national press and he championed the cause
of freelances through his work for the National Association of Press
Agencies. A brilliant storyteller, he wrote in Press Gazette just a
fortnight ago about his life and times chasing George Best around
Manchester when he was on the Sunday People.

He began his career
on the Harrogate Advertiser followed by stints at the Northern Echo in
Darlington and the Morning Telegraph in Sheffield.

In 1967
Whittle moved to the Daily Sketch before joining the Sunday People,
became showbiz editor of the Daily Star and then news editor of Eddy
Shah\’s Post. He also worked for the National Inquirer in the US.

Together
with photographer Brian Taylor, Whittle joined his close friend Peter
Reece in the Manchester News Service. He set up Cavendish Press in
1979. The agency continues under the leadership of Jon Harris.

In recent years, two stories were to become particularly important to him.

Cavendish
Press was responsible for the first pictures of Kirsty Howard, the girl
born with a back-to-front heart, who has helped raise almost £5 million
for the children\’s hospice, Francis House.

Mass-murderer Harold
Shipman was the other. He devoted hundreds of hours of his own time to
digging into Shipman\’s background in Hyde, near Manchester, and wrote a
book about the case.

Chris Johnson, boss of Mercury Press in
Liverpool and chairman of NAPA, said: \”Brian was a no-nonsense
northerner who loved life, revelled in a job well done and always saw
the funny side.

\”Whether it was a sensational news story, his
authoritative book on Shipman, or the latest joke he wanted to share,
Brian enjoyed nothing more than telling a rollicking good story.

\”Whether
it was bossing Cavendish Press or any of his other jobs, Brian was
always the consummate professional and a dedicated journalist of the
highest calibre. To say that he will be sorely missed is a huge
understatement.\”

He leaves a wife, Maureen, and three sons, Mark, Peter and Christopher.

■ Full obituary in our next issue

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