George Young was methodical. So methodical that he kept every notebook he used in the 64 years he was a full-time journalist. In his varied career, George gained many scoops and many friends among his readers. For he was consumer watchdog – agony uncle – to the readers of Auto Express for nine years.
In 1991 he celebrated 60 years of driving without making a motor insurance claim – "due to luck more than merit". Although he did have two rear-end shunts, 20 years apart, with cars damaged, the other drivers admitted liability. Their insurers paid up.
George learned to drive in a Singer Junior saloon. The first car he owned was an Austin Seven soft top – "£13 and wholly reliable". His first new car was a £100 Ford Model Y.
His newspaper and magazine career began on The Bicycle, followed by nearly 30 years on features and news with the Mirror Group, mainly on the staff of Reveille; seven years as Ralph Thoresby, Motor’s Private View columnist; and nine years as Auto Express consumer affairs expert. Not long before his death he was commissioned by Derek Hainge, editor of the Guild of Experienced Motorists’ Good Motoring, to write a digest of a lengthy report and at the same time he submitted, on spec, a thought-provoking piece on car colours. Both articles were published days after his death.
The tributes for George are numerous. The Reverend Stephen Mepham, who conducted his funeral service, read tributes from his eldest daughter, Sylvia Enfield; fellow journalist and guild member John Thorpe; and his widow Hildegard (to whom he had been married for 46 years).
Sylvia wrote: "I worshiped him. Not only was he the tallest – 6ft 2in – but the greatest of men. His name in print – GW Young – had a fascination for me. He had integrity and thoughtfulness. We have lost someone very rare, a truly great man."
John wrote from Scotland: "So passes a true gentle man and a great journalist. He died as he would have wished – on the road." George, in fact, collapsed on a bus.
John continued: "When I was at my lowest ebb and made redundant, George drove over to offer sympathy and take me out to lunch. That was typical of him."
He was fearless. He hated hypocrisy and did not mind offending people. For example, he wrote more than once: "Never trust car salesmen. Many people have learned that lesson the painful way. Many car salesmen are tricksters."
Born in Twyford, Berkshire, in 1913, since ‘retiring’ he regularly freelanced for Drive Magazine, Good Motoring, Pulse and the nationals.