NUJ Member of Honour Don Sutton, who worked for the Liverpool Daily Post for many years, has died after a short illness aged 83.
A committed trade unionist, he served the NUJ with dedication and distinction at all levels – as a chapel and branch officer, area council delegate, industrial council member and an NEC member.
Merseyside Branch chair Mike Rickett said: “This is very sad news. Don was an absolute NUJ stalwart and we have much to be grateful to him for at chapel and branch level and at national level. He was always willing and able to help others and would gladly spend time with you giving the benefit of his sound advice. He will be greatly missed.”
Born in 1928 at Newton-le-Willows, Don’s family moved to Wirral when he was three. He was a former Kingsmead School pupil. Don started his career in journalism aged 16 on a local Wirral newspaper, the Hoylake and West Kirby Advertiser. He was a sub-editor and book review columnist for the Liverpool Daily Post for almost 30 years and at the time of his retirement in 1992 was in charge of special projects.
Merseyside branch membership secretary Mike Studley said: “Don’s commitment to the NUJ was absolute and he was an inspiration to those following in his footsteps. His involvement with the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo Chapel and the Liverpool Branch was crucial during years of major change in the industry. His service to the union at national level was also outstanding.
“He served, at various times, on the National Executive Council, the Provincial Newspapers Industrial Council and for many years was the NUJ representative on the National Council for the Training of Journalists. He was a vitally important member of PNIC at the time of the provincial newspapers national strike in 1978/79. He was also a regular delegate to, and speaker at, ADM over many years.
“Many of our older and retired members will remember Don, and will no doubt remain grateful to him for his invaluable work for the NUJ. Personally, I count it a great privilege to have known him and I will always be thankful to him for his help and wise guidance when I took over as FoC at the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo and when I too became more involved with the union at national level. He was the ideal mentor – someone you could always approach for sound advice.
“In negotiations, too, he was never antagonistic but always presented well-considered arguments in support of our chapel’s position. That talent for making persuasive arguments also served him well at ADMs, where I saw him, on more than one occasion, swing the support of delegates from what he considered the wrong course to the right one.
“He was the best of men and will be sadly missed.”
Don, who lived in Heswall, Wirral, leaves a wife, Margaret, and three daughters.