Tributes to former Bridlington Free Press editor

Arthur Porter during his days as editor of the Bridlington Free Press.
Arthur Porter during his days as editor of the Bridlington Free Press.

TRIBUTES have been paid to former Free Press editor Arthur Porter who has died aged 82.

After suffering from dementia for several years, having moved into Mallard Court Care Home four and a half years ago, Arthur lost his battle with the condition early last week.

He leaves behind his wife of almost 60 years Ivy, daughters Diane and Carla, grandchildren Jessica and Abby and great grand-children Joshua, Kelsey and Gracie.

Diane said: “I just remember him as a lovely man, a lot of people said what a gentleman he was. He was a wonderful husband and a wonderful father.”

Brian Frost, a friend and neighbour of Arthur for more than 20 years, has fondly recalled a “truly grand chap” with a great sense of humour.

“What does one say about Arthur except that he was a gentleman and a comedian, that is to say he loved to swap jokes with me and his friends,” said Brian, who holidayed with Arthur and Ivy on numerous occasions.

Born in Clowne, Derbyshire, Arthur was educated at schools in Warsop and at Mansfield Technical College.

Arthur moved to Bridlington in 1970 when he took over the editorship of the Free Press, a position he held for 18 years until his retirement in 1989.

His retirement marked the end of a 42 year career in regional journalism having started out as a junior reporter in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.

In 1951 Arthur moved to Wisbech, covering the Isle of Ely and Cambridgeshire areas before moving onto the Newark Advertiser 12 months later.

In 1953 he was appointed deputy editor of the Nottinghamshire Free Press where he spent six years before moving to Leamington Spa where he worked as sub-editor for the Courier.

In 1970 Arthur was appointed editor at the Bridlington Free Press and saw the paper go through significant changes, including breaking with a 125-year tradition when it changed from a broadsheet to a tabloid in 1973.

Arthur was a former president of the Yorkshire Region of the Guild of British Newspaper Editors and served two terms as chairman of the Yorkshire Regional Committee of the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

Arthur also found himself featuring in the Free Press when the paper reported on the significance of the number 13 in his and Ivy’s lives.

Arthur and Ivy met on the 13th, became engaged on the 13th, married on the 13th and on June 13, 2003 they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

The couple, who lived on Cloverley Road up until Arthur fell ill, met when they lived three miles apart in Nottinghamshire.

A keen flat-green bowler since his teens Arthur represented Yorkshire and Warwickshire in inter-county bowls matches.

Arthur and Ivy used to play in Bridlington’s Leisure World indoor league and were members of Beeford Bowling Club.

They were also founding members of the Bridlington Alexander Bowling Club and Bridlington Indoor Bowling Association, the first outdoor flat green club in the town. Arthur was made an honorary life member of the club in 2009.

Derek Atkin, who knew Arthur through the Alexander Bowling Club, said: “He was a lovely man. You couldn’t fault him in any way, he was nice and quiet and just plodded along.”

He was also once a keen cricket and hockey player and played for the Bridlington Table Tennis League for 15 years.

Jazz music was also one of Arthur’s passions, especially early jazz, and he was a founder member of the Mansfield Jazz Club where he played piano.

Arthur was also a former member of the Bridlington Lions Club.

Arthur’s family have said a big thank you to all the staff at Mallard Court for their support over the years.

A memorial service will be held for Arthur at Sewerby Methodist Church at 10.45am on Tuesday September 11. Donations to Dementia UK.