The funeral of Fleet Street veteran Reg Cooper took place on Monday 22 October at St Mary’s Church, Weston Turville, near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. Reg, 73, started work on the Sporting Life in 1948 and left the Daily Express as a sports sub-editor in 1995.
He began on the Express as a news sub 10 years earlier, but managed to arrange a transfer to the sports department.
He was a passionate sportsman throughout his life, regularly playing football, squash and golf on. He often beat much younger men on the squash court, sometimes gaining a tactical advantage by switching his racket from the right to left hand.
He was also a keen cyclist, and on one occasion persuaded Fleet Street colleagues to join him for a trip to see the Tour de France finish in Paris. Bon viveur Reg so enjoyed the food and drink on offer in Paris that the Fleet Street party missed seeing the end of the race. But they all enjoyed the atmosphere.
Before he retired from the Express, Reg could sometimes be found stretched out on the floor of the office to relieve his aching back. It didn’t stop him joining in the repartee from his prone position.
Former Express colleague Clive Goozee said: ‘While he was at the Express, he also managed to work a Saturday shift on the Sunday Express, before dashing up the road to The People, where he worked as a sports stone sub.
‘What stamina. He was a tough guy, a charmer and a gent, which is how I will remember him.”
Reg also worked on the Croydon Advertiser, the Daily Sketch, the London Evening News, The Times and the Sunday Mirror.
When he was deputy features editor at the Evening News, he ‘literally tore his hair out’waiting for writers – who spent most of their time out of the office – to file their copy.
For several years he also worked in public relations and, for a spell, as an antiques dealer.
Reg who latterly suffered from Parkinson’s disease, leaves a widow, Ev, two sons and two grandchildren.