Sunday Mirror and Fleet Street veteran journalist William Nutting has died at the age of 80 after falling ill at his home in Spain last week.
Known as Bill to friends and colleagues, he joined the Mirror Group in the early 1990s after a succession of senior roles on newspapers including the Daily Mail, the Evening News and the Evening Standard.
He worked at the European, Sunday People magazine and in a troubleshooting role across several titles before settling at the Sunday Mirror, where he was late chief sub-editor for many years.
More recently he was also a genial maître’d at Crispins, a highly regarded restaurant he set up in Messing, Essex, with his wife Ewa, a chef.
During his dead-of-night shifts with no breaking news to interrupt the edition, Bill would whisk away whichever sub was lucky enough to share the late turn to a restaurant in Brick Lane or Greenwich, telling the news desk before setting off in his sleek black Mercedes: “Got my number chaps? Back in a jiffy if anything happens.”
Eventually, word came down from on high that this was really taking too much of a liberty.
Bill accepted with good grace, and instead used his restaurateur’s flair to elevate a humble Indian takeaway into a fine dining experience in the office, spreading a tablecloth of upside-down layout sheets between the computer monitors and furnishing it with polished wine glasses, immaculate cutlery and trays of hors d’oeuvres. Once he even brought in fresh oysters.
Bill enjoyed his Mirror job so much that even after he and Ewa moved to Spain and set up a cookery school in the Andalucian countryside, he commuted weekly back to London and continued part-time until he finally retired in 2010 at the age of 74.
Renowned for his journalistic flair and enthusiasm and love of colourful Italian shirts, he also became well known for occasionally directing his taxi driver to the wrong airport after his shift ended at 3am on a Sunday morning.
William is survived by Ewa, three sons (two from an earlier marriage) and three grandchildren.
A family ceremony will take place this week in Spain, to be followed by a UK commemoration in September.