Stalwart regional press man Harry Walton dies aged 98 after journalism career spanning six decades

The former chief sub-editor of the Evening Advertiser, Harry Walton, who spent 67 years as a journalist, has died aged 98.

Walton started his career in journalism as a reporter on the County Express at Stourbridge in 1936, later becoming district reporter.

He took on an editor/reporter role with the Oldbury weekly News Series in 1941 before joining the Surrey Times in Guildford as a reporter two years later.

Walton’s path then took him back to the Midlands, where he became a district reporter at Wellingborough for the Chronicle and Echo at Northampton, later becoming a sub-editor until 1945.

It was then that he became a sub-editor at the Express and Star at Wolverhampton until 1947 where he was also deputy chief sub-editor and acting chief sub-editor until 1960.

That year saw him move with his wife, Mary, and sons Harry and Nicholas down to Devon, where he took on the deputy chief sub-editor at the Express and Echo in Exeter.

Harry Walton, left, in the newsroom at Swindon

In 1970, Walton was made chief sub-editor of the Evening Advertiser in Swindon where he stayed until his retirement in the mid 1980s, holding various posts including chief production editor.

During his long career, Walton was heavily involved with the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

“He was one of its main examiners and only stopped marking examination papers when he stood down at the tender age of 84,” said his son Harry, himself a journalist for 42 years.

“The NCTJ wanted him to continue but dad felt 84 was enough.”

Walton died at Primrose Lodge Care Home in Weymouth  on 6 November . His ashes were interred on 8 December.

He was cremated at Weymouth Crematorium and his ashes were taken by his sons to Pershore Cemetery in Worcestershire where they were interred in his late wife Mary’s grave just before Christmas.

He leaves two sons and three grand-children one of whom, Neil Walton, continues the family association with journalism for a third generation. He is senior sports reporter with the Dorset Echo at Weymouth.

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