Vincent Vaughan

Vincent "Vin" Vaughan who died recently at the age of 90,  had an extended working life of 62 years, most of which he dedicated to visual and written journalism. His passion for news pictures and words continued during 14 years of active retirement.

Vin began his working life in the Twenties as an apprentice printer in his hometown of Altrincham, Cheshire. In the Thirties he worked as a compositor for the Liverpool Daily Post and Evening Echo. At the outbreak of war in 1939, he enlisted in the RAF. He was posted to France and shortly before the Dunkirk evacuation, Vin was given two options: a posting back to the UK; or to South Africa for specialist training in aerial reconnaissance and photography. Being a "smart mover", he chose the training course in South Africa and put his newfound knowledge to use in the European theatre of war.

After the war Vin returned to the Post and Echo newspapers as a press photographer. He made another astute move to the Birmingham Sunday Mercury in the late Forties, remaining with the paper until 1959. He then operated as a Birmingham-based freelance press photographer and television film cameraman for the fledgling ATV and ITN news programmes. After four years Vin returned to South Africa where he continued his visual newsgathering freelance operations.

Returning to the UK in the Sixties Vin made another shrewd move. He chose the Swindon area as his base from which to operate as a freelance television cameraman. He supplied footage for BBC and Independent Television News centres in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Southampton. On many occasions Vin covered hard news stories for several stations at the same time, achieving this by using three cameras. In this way he earned the equivalent of three to six days commission fees by covering only one story.

In the early Seventies Vin was over 60. Opting for the "quieter" life of sub-editing, he spent a year or so at the Cambridge Evening News. His next move was to the Bolton Evening News, having "accidentally" knocked 10 years off his age when applying for the job. All was well until his true age of 65 was discovered in October 1976, and he was told he must retire. Undaunted, Vin continued to use his "lost 10 years" tactic and applied for jobs. Within a couple of months he was back at work as a sub-editor for the Evening Echo, Southampton. Keeping ahead of the game he moved quickly to the Evening Echo at Weymouth.

When a confirmed bachelor of 65, Vin met and married his wife Peggy. Astute as ever, Vin took the opportunity to use a conveniently timed freebie trip to Gibraltar on behalf of the Echo as a honeymoon occasion.

Vin and Peggy were devoted to each other and set up home at Canford Cliffs near Poole. Sadly, after a few years of happily married life, Peggy died.

Vin’s age caught up with him again when an eagle-eyed wages clerk at Weymouth eventually spotted that our man should have been pensioned off. A deal was reached between Vin and the management at Weymouth who agreed to let him carry on subbing, on the condition that his contract was subject to annual review. After a couple of years his arrangement was forgotten about, and Vin worked on until he was 76.

Young journalists who were fortunate to meet up with Vin found his advice invaluable and delivered with resolute encouragement.

In his "retirement" years Vin carried on taking pictures. With an ever-sharp sub-editor’s eye, he delighted in pouncing upon grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors, and was always searching for more succinct definitive headlines.

He will be greatly missed by his family, journalist colleagues and friends. All would readily agree that, in Vin’s own frequently used words of professional admiration of others, he was a "smart operator".

Peter Twaites

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