Malcolm Armstrong: former editor, the Sunday Sun

Malcolm Armstrong, who died on 17 November at the age of 87, enjoyed a long and eventful career. One of his proudest moments, as editor of the Sunday Sun , was the first front page to confirm that man had landed on the moon.

It was a career interrupted when the Blackpool teenager left his first reporting job on the Lancashire Evening Telegraph to volunteer at the outbreak of World War Two, signing on as a motorcycle dispatch rider.

The next six years took him to fighting zones in North Africa, Palestine, India, Burma and the North West Frontier. His medals included the Burma Star.

It was while collecting wounded troops as a desert ambulance driver that he collected many of his amazing stories.

He married his wife Eve in 1946.

Some time later, tuberculosis, believed to have been contracted during his years in the desert, was found in both lungs. This led to six years of hospital, major chest surgery, and a lifetime struggle with ill health.

He resumed his career on the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, becoming features editor, and then moved to Reading as assistant editor for the start of web offset colour printing.

His natural flair for design and colour led to job offers from United Newspapers in Wigan, and finally as colour consultant to Thomson Newspapers in Newcastle, where he edited the Sunday Sun in the late 1960s.

Always an innovative and enthusiastic newsman, he had an instinct for the quirky and offbeat.

He also had a big heart, so when presented with the story of a Gateshead mother’s struggle to raise funds for equipment to help young heart defect patients at Freeman Hospital, he threw in the paper’s support. Three times the target amount was raised, and Malcolm and Eve were among a group invited to Buckingham Palace to present the cheque to Prince Phillip.

Retiring 25 years ago, Malcolm then poured his enthusiasm into the Armstrong Trust, celebrating the clan’s history, running a magazine, and visiting fellow Armstrongs around the world with Eve. His love of words went into poetry and writing up his memories.

For the past 11 years he battled with various health problems, nursed devotedly by his wife of 58 years.

Malcolm was cremated in Edinburgh. He leaves Eve, son John (a journalist with BBC Bristol), daughter Janet and five grandchildren.

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