Brian Whittle, the boss of the Cavendish Press news agency in Manchester, has died aged 59.
collapsed and died on Friday at a party in Manchester to mark the final
departure of the Daily Express, Sunday Express and Daily Star from the
He began his career on the Harrogate Advertiser followed
by stints at the Northern Echo in Darlington and the Morning Telegraph
In 1967 Whittle moved to the Daily Sketch and then joined the Sunday People as a reporter. He was showbiz
editor of the Daily Star when its HQ was in Manchester, news editor
of Eddy Shah’s Post and also worked for the National
Inquirer in the US.
Together with photographer Brian Taylor, Whittle joined his close friend Peter Reece in the Manchester News Service.
He set up Cavendish Press in 1979. The agency continues under the leadership of Jon Harris.
a member of the National Association of Press Agencies (NAPA) he was a
vociferous champion of fair treatment for freelances. He took Cavendish
Press into association with multi media group 2DayUK.
years, two stories were particularly important to him. Cavendish Press was
responsible for the first pictures of Kirsty Howard, the little
girl born with a back-to-front heart, who has helped raise almost £5
million for the children’s hospice, Francis House.
Harold Shipman was the other. Whittle had the foresight to spot very
early both that it was a huge human tragedy but the political
implications of how Shipman got away with it for so long. He devoted
hundreds of hours of his own time to digging into Shipman’s background
in Hyde, near Manchester, and became the expert on the subject,
interviewed by newspapers and radio and TV stations around the world.
Johnson, boss of Mercury Press, Liverpool, and chairman of NAPA, said:
“Brian was a no-nonsense Northerner who loved life, revelled in a job
well done and always saw the funny side.
“Whether it was a
sensational news story, his authoritative book on Shipman, or the
latest joke he wanted to share, Brian enjoyed nothing more than telling
a rollicking good story.
“For him laughter was a vital release
valve and totally disarming. He could give you a stern piece of his
mind one minute and yet have you in pleats moments later with some
“Whether it was bossing Cavendish Press or
any of his other jobs, Brian was always the consummate professional and
a dedicated journalist of the highest calibre. To say that he will be
sorely missed is a huge understatement.”
He leaves a wife, Maureen, and three sons, Mark, Peter and Christopher, who are all journalists.