Joe Vodicka - Fleet Street veteran

Joe Vodicka, one of the best-known Fleet Street veterans, has died
at his home in Cornwall. He was 82 and worked on newspapers for five
decades.

Starting his career in 1944 on the Stockport Express,
Joe’s contemporaries included David Coleman, who went on to become a
BBC sports presenter, and Ken Morgan of the NUJ, who later ran the
Press Council.

Joe worked in Lincoln before joining the Daily
Herald as a reporter in Manchester and was later the district man for
north-east England. Moving to London in 1949, he covered many famous
stories including the Bodkin- Adams trial, the big spy stories and the
troubles in Cyprus. For the Herald he travelled thousands of miles in
the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

Joe moved to the Daily Sketch
in London, before starting a news agency in Cambridge in the early
1960s with photographers Louis Garnade and Peter Dunn, together with
former Daily Express news editor Mike Jeacock.

Fleet Street called again and Jon spent a couple of years on the Daily Mail before returning to freelancing in Winchester.

He
spent the last years of his working life on the Southern Evening Echo
and ran the Winchester office until his retirement in 1988, when he was
made a life member of the NUJ.

Joe had a special talent for spotting and then training young journalists.

Among
his protégés were: Peter Rosier, who went on to become BBC head of
corporate affairs; Chris Denham, the former West Country BBC television
presenter, who now runs Denham Productions; and Tim Arlott (son of the
late John Arlott), who became head of the Reuters bureau in Paris.

Moving
to Gorran Haven, near Mevagissey, with his third wife Maria, Joe
maintained an active life until the end. He and son Giles were Morris
Minor enthusiasts and travelled to rallies all over Britain and Europe.

Recently
he travelled to the Czech Republic to visit the town where his father
was born. A month before he died, he revisited Cyprus where he had
worked for the Daily Herald.

Joe is survived by wife Maria, his two daughters, Janet and Susan, and his son Giles.

Nicholas Light

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