John Beacock - Former Scunthorpe Telegraph chief sub-editor

Former Scunthorpe Telegraph chief sub-editor, John Beacock has died suddenly in hospital.

John,
who was 69, was one of the longest-serving members of the editorial
staff at Scunthorpe until his retirement in November 1998, after
working his way up through the ranks from reporter to deputy news
editor and finally to chief sub-editor, with the introduction of new
technology in 1989.

It was during his national service days in the RAF that he decided to enter journalism.

John was a military policeman, stationed in the east coast town of Bempton, near Bridlington.

“He
had locked up a prisoner in one of the cells,” explained his wife Jean,
“and this chap told John he had started work aged 16 as a reporter.”

The
prisoner talked to John about his job and said how much he loved it,
and it was that conversation, said Jean, which inspired John to pursue
a career in journalism.

When John left the RAF he lived with his
parents in Gainsborough. An advertisement for a reporter on the former
Scunthorpe Star caught his eye. But it was John’s dad who rang and
spoke to the editor, Bill Plowright, telling him his son was interested
in the job.John joined the staff of the Scunthorpe Telegraph in 1966 as
its chief reporter after a brief spell abroad and a spell working as a
freelance with the late Harold Caine.

In Scunthorpe he joined a
news team headed by Mik Robins and other local newspaper legends
including Tom Taylor and Norman Reeder.

A year after they first
met, John and Jean were married in her home town of Falkirk, and back
in Scunthorpe the couple made their home in Church Lane where they
lived ever since and where they brought up their two children.

Christopher, born in 1972, and Kirsty, who arrived two years later.

During
his retirement John read newspapers from cover to cover every day . He
also revived his old interest in steam trains and both he and Jean were
actively involved in the local quiz league.

His other earlier
interests saw him heavily involved with the Anchor Swimming Club, of
which he was chairman for five years, and for 10 years he was secretary
of the Appleby-Frodingham swimming club.

Scunthorpe Telegraph
deputy editor Jane Manning said: “When I arrived John was chief
sub-editor, and as such was a prominent figure in the newsroom. He
combined professionalism and personality. He knew the job inside out
and was a mine of information.”

Scunthorpe Telegraph reporter,
Nick Cole, a friend for more than 40 years, said: “John was a true
professional, a solid family man and an adventurer.

“I am sure
John – Corporal Snowdrop as he was affectionately known – will have
organised the big quiz league in the sky with Saint Peter as the
inquisitor. We salute you, Corporal”.

Sports editor Bob Steels
said: “One of his finest hours was in 1974 during the Flixborough
Disaster when he helped mobilise the Telegraph news team for a story
that was covered by news agencies worldwide, and it was John again at
the helm of page design when the Telegraph changed from broadsheet to
tabloid in 1990.”

Hazel Tomlins, Scunthorpe Telegraph

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