Tributes to 'newspaper legend' Alan Goode

Tributes have been paid to former Bristol United Press chief executive and ‘newspaper legend’Alan Goode, who has died aged 72.

Goode passed away at Weston General Hospital on Monday morning following a four-year illness.

He started in his role as chief executive at Bristol United Press in 1994 after rising through the ranks of regional journalism to become editor at the Plymouth Evening Herald.

He oversaw BUP – then the parent company of the Evening Post and Western Daily Press – as it expanded and registered record profits in the late 1990s.

On his retirement, he was credited with transforming a struggling independent newspaper publisher into one of the most profitable and admired components of Britain’s regional press.

Goode, who lived in Chewton Mendip with his wife Jennie, served the company as an ‘inspirational leader’for 10 years before retiring in 2004.

Born in Stourbridge in December 1939 and brought up in nearby Halesowen, Goode landed his first job in journalism as a trainee reporter at the Oldbury Weekly News in 1960.

He had two spells at the Wolverhampton Express and Star – one as chief reporter and then as deputy editor – and a spell at the Birmingham Post and Mail before he became editor of the Evening Herald.

He moved into management with the Plymouth paper in 1987 and then moved to the Cornish Guardian and Western Gazette in senior management roles in the early 1990s, before he was appointed BUP chief executive.

Goode leaves behind children Tim, Susie and Daniel, and grandchildren Hannah and Becky.

He had been ill with melanoma for four years and his health had deteriorated since October last year.

Jennie, his wife of 47 years, said: ‘He loved his time in Bristol and loved his journalism. Everywhere he went, he worked very hard and did very well. He loved his garden and his family but his journalism came first.”

After retiring, Goode played an active role in his local community by writing for the Wells Journal and Mendip Times, getting involved with Mendip Community Transport and serving as treasurer of the Royal Bath and West Show.

Former Evening Post editor Mike Lowe, who was appointed by Mr Goode in the mid-1990s, said: ‘Alan was a true newspaper legend who was fortunate enough to live through the golden age of the regional industry.

‘He was a brilliant newspaperman and an inspirational leader who was hugely respected by his peers. He had a great sense of fun and mischief and was incredibly loyal to his staff.

‘One of my great memories of him in Bristol was the Sunday morning Princess Diana died. We all piled into the office and managed to get a newspaper into the shops and supermarkets by 11.30am. And in the midst of the chaos was the chief executive of Bristol United Press, handing out bacon rolls and revelling in the sights and sounds of a newsroom at full tilt. He’ll be sorely missed.”

Goode was a director and former treasurer of the Royal Bath and West Show and was due to be made a vice president this year. He was a director of Mendip Community Transport, former chairman of Wells Probus and a staunch supporter of Chewton Mendip and Litton Royal British Legion.

He played in the Mendip Farmers’ skittles league, acted as compere at the Chewton Mendip village fete and supported the village’s arts festival. He also contributed regularly to the parish magazine.

Steve Egginton, editor of Mendip Times, said: ‘Journalism was in his blood. His monthly column was eagerly anticipated and will be sorely missed. Despite the gravity of his illness he was proud of the fact that he only ever missed one deadline. As a committed grassroots journalist that’s a record he would be proud of.”

Philip Welch, editor of the Wells Journal and Mid Somerset News & Media, said: ‘Alan was a wonderful man, a mentor to me and a friend to many.”

Former Western Daily Press editor Terry Manners said: “In the rough and tumble world of journalism, Alan Goode was the rough and tumble. A straight-talking, no nonsense kind of guy his editors believed in and trusted. Especially when the chips were down.

‘A closed-door session with Alan might find you pinned up against the wall – but in public he would stand by your side and with his natural charm win over those baying for your blood, as so often happens in our industry.

‘Alan Goode loved his beer, his memories of newsdesk life and his newspapers. They were in his blood. He was as at home on the editorial floor as he was in the board room.

‘He will be sadly missed by so many. Mike Lowe, the former editor of the Bristol Evening Post particularly. The three of us had many happy times working for Northcliffe together, along with Western Daily Press executive Peter O’Reilly and many others.

‘When Alan was at the helm in Bristol he opened the doors that made it possible for me to build an energetic, loyal and creative editorial team that made the Western Daily a proud old lady again. I will always thank him for that. All our thoughts are with wife Jenny who became part of our fraternity and embraced us as friends in her home.”

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