Doug Thain: award-winning journalist and top-class sub-editor

Former colleagues of Doug Thain have paid tribute to the award-winning journalist and national newspaper sub-editor, who died peacefully aged 50 following a short illness.

After completing an NCTJ pre-entry course at Darlington College in 1972, Thain moved to London where he met Beth, his wife and mother of his two children, while working as a junior reporter on the Lincolnshire Echo.

After a brief spell broadcasting on BBC Radio Carlisle, he returned to newspapers, joining the Sheffield Star, where he won the Campaigning Journalist of the Year award in 1976. Prime Minister James Callaghan presented him with it at The Savoy.

At 25, he became the youngest sub-editor on the Daily Mail in Manchester, where he stayed for 15 years before heading south to the Daily Star’s London offices.

Hugh Whittow, deputy editor of the Daily Star and editor of the Daily Star Sunday, said: “It’s really very sad news. He was so very, very talented, a fantastic guy and a very popular and energetic member of staff.”

“Everybody used to say how brilliant his headlines were. We are all so desperately sorry he died so young.”

Friend and colleague George Fowler said: “What a terrible loss of talent. He was one of the nicest blokes I have ever met. Witty, charming, keen –a brilliant bloke.”

Jon Smith, deputy chief sub-editor at the Express and a friend for 20 years, said: “He was such a great friend. Probably one of the best subs I have ever come across. I worked with him at the Mail. He was one of the best creative subs and rewrite men that I have ever seen.”

Thain took early redundancy a few years ago due to ill health to pursue a freelance career from his home in St. Albans, Hertfordshire.

Some of his work included writing a brochure for guitar maker Lowden, which enabled him to combine his love of guitars with his passion for journalism.

He leaves his 82-year-old mother and twin daughters, Laura and Caroline, aged 24. Caroline Thain can be contacted at: caroline.thain@heraldnews.co.uk

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