Fenland councillor and former Wisbech Standard editor killed in A47 crash
08:36 19 July 2011
TRIBUTES have poured in for Fenland councillor and former Wisbech Standard editor Roger Green who was killed yesterday in a two-vehicle crash on the A47 Wisbech bypass.
More tributes to Roger Green
I CANNOT believe this news! I was a good friend of his step-daughter Samantha when we were at senior school and went on many a boating holiday with Roger, Margaret and Samantha.
Roger was such a lovely man and my thoughts are with his family. Please pass on my best wishes to Margaret and Samantha. Wishing them lots of love xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
JUSTINE SAYERS (WAS MCDERMOTT) AND IAN, CHRIS AND SOPHIE
ON occasions I met Roger Green in Etcetera in Wisbech and sipped a cup of tea in his company.
Almost always we had a little dig at each other, he maintaining that Wisbech is the Capital of the Fens.
I remonstrated contrary-wise, declaring that March is the capital because it is officially recognised as the County Town and home to Fenland Hall where lots of Wisbech business comes under scrutiny!
We aired our views in the nicest possible manner and departed our separate ways with a giggle. Sadly there will be no more debates.
I knew Roger’s father, Walter Green, in the days when the Wisbech Standard was produced at the Sharman newspaper ofice at March. He built the Standard into a first-rate provincial newspaper and Roger dutifully maintained the tradition.
St Peter’s Road
Cllr Green was driving a car which was involved in a head-on collision on the A47, close to the junction with Broad End Road, Walsoken, on the Cambridgeshire/Norfolk border, yesterday at 3pm.
He was anaesthetised at the scene and was flown to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge by Magpas Helimedix in the Magpas helicopter. However, he died from his injuries.
Cllr Green’s wife, Margaret Green, said in a statement: “He was a lovely man, he loved his town of Wisbech to which he considered to be the capital of the Fens.
“He will be a great loss to Wisbech, his friends and his family.”
Cllr Green, 77, of Ardleigh Close, Wisbech, was on his way home from a Golden Age Fair meeting at Fenland Hall in March when the crash took place.
Educated at Wisbech Grammar School, Cllr Green joined the editorial staff of the Wisbech Standard in 1950. After two years National Service as a shorthand instructor in the RAF, he became sports editor for 11 years and then editor for 21 years.
He was born in Ely and he succeeded his father as editor of the Wisbech Standard. He took early retirement in the 1980s when the Thompson group took over the Sharman empire.
Journalists trained by Cllr Green during his time as editor include Bob Crawley, editorial director of Archant London; Chris Lakey, head of sport at Archant Norfolk; and Simon Caney, editor-in-chief of Sport magazine and talksport.co.uk
Brian Asplin, former editor of the Cambs Times and Wisbech Standard, is one of Cllr Green’s many former colleagues.
He said: “Roger was a genuine lover and supporter of Wisbech. I worked with him during his 21 years as editor and he always fought for what he thought was good for the town. He was in charge of the paper during its most successful period.
“He was a good leader and a good ambassador for the paper and the people. He continued that when he became a successful councillor. Being a newspaper man, he shunned the headlines and worked diligently and gained a well deserved reputation.”
Cllr Green was editor when some of the biggest incidents in Wisbech’s history took place, including the floods of 1978 in which one person died and a quarter of the town went underwater, and the Harrier crash in 1979 in which two men and a boy were killed.
Mr Asplin said: “One big decision that absolutely staggered me was when Bowthorpe Maternity Hospital was threatened with closure, and we were looking for something special to do in the battle to save it.
“Roger called with an idea - to have a picture on the front page of a baby being born.
“I told him it couldn’t be done, the hospital wouldn’t allow it. But we did it, and it was superb.
“We had calls from the national press and it was the only thing people were talking about in the pubs.”
Cllr Green, a former Mayor of Wisbech, was chairman of Wisbech Town Council’s general purposes and finance committee for the past nine years and for six years was leader of the council.
Erbie Murat, clerk to Wisbech Town Council, said: “I have known him for four years and it’s been an absolute pleasure. We used to meet up every week.
“He’s a Wisbech man through and through and he’s served the town all his life. He was furiously in love with Wisbech.
“The truth is that he paid attention. I know it sounds crass to say but as a politician these days, that’s rare. When you sat down and talked to him, you knew he was listening.
“He was a pleasure to work with and he had some great ideas for Wisbech. His ideas will be enduring and Wisbech will continue to grow and develop in the way that he was hoping for. That will be his legacy.”
At Fenland Cllr Green was chairman of the planning committee and on the Golden Age Committee which is earning national recognition for its work among the over 60s.
Council leader Alan Melton said in a statement: “Yesterday’s tragic news is a great shock to everyone at Fenland District Council.
“Roger has been a good friend and colleague to all of us for many years. He has served his ward, the town of Wisbech and Fenland with passion and dedication.
“This sad news of Roger’s death leaves a big hole in the political arena of Fenland District Council.
“For the last two years Roger was chairman of the planning committee, a post that he thoroughly enjoyed and carried out with fairness and diligence.
“Roger was of my closest confidantes, his advice and guidance was always of great value. When I was elected Leader of the Council last year, his support was un-wavering.
“Never afraid to praise or criticise, he was good friend. I shall really miss him.
“Our thoughts, condolences and prayers are all now for Margaret and his family”.
Sandra Claxton, the council’s chief executive, echoed Cllr Melton’s words. She said: “We are all shocked by this awful tragedy.
“Roger has been with the council for 12 years and has been much loved by everyone who came into contact with him here.
“He was a man of great wit, with a lovely sense of humour, and always showed great passion in representing his ward, his town and the district.
Former colleagues’ tributes
JONATHAN BUCK, former deputy national editor at The Wall Street Journal in New York, said: “As editor of the Wisbech Standard, Roger provided opportunities for countless aspiring reporters. The newspaper was a fantastic training ground for young journalists, and Roger was the perfect mentor.
“He had excellent news judgement and maintained high standards. He never lost his cool, and his enthusiasm and good humour were infectious.
“Roger was the archetypal local newspaper editor: he knew every town councillor, district councillor, businessman and official, and they knew him. His contacts made him its best reporter as well as its editor.
“Roger was a wonderful ambassador for the newspaper and the town, of which he was so proud.
“I owe Roger a debt of gratitude more than most: Roger was responsible for my hiring and training, and it was while working at the Wisbech Standard that I met my wife.”
SIMON CANEY, editor-in-chief of Sport magazine and talksport.co.uk, said: “I was shocked to hear Roger had died.
“I first met him when I was 14 and the Wisbech Standard work experience boy. From then on he stayed in touch with words of encouragement until four years later he gave me my first job in journalism, just as he did for probably hundreds of people over the years.
“We all owe him a great debt. He was a lovely man, a very fair boss and great company in and out of the office. It’s very sad indeed.”
CHRIS LAKEY, head of sport at Archant Norfolk, said: “I am hugely saddened to hear the terrible news and my condolences go to his family and his many friends.
“Roger gave me my chance in journalism, back in 1978, and helped shape the way I do the job today. I owe him and people like Brian Asplin a debt of gratitude. Roger taught myself and many others the values and principles which we adhere to today.
“As everyone knows, Roger loved football, and Wisbech Town in particular, and an afternoon at Fenland Park wasn’t quite complete without a chat with him about the fortunes of the Fenmen.
“He really will be sorely missed.”
“He has been a tremendously fair and diligent Chairman of the Planning Committee, as well as serving on several other committees. He was someone who very quickly earned everyone’s respect.
“As one of the most active members of Golden Age, he has also been tireless in his efforts to improve the lives of older people in Fenland.
“Roger will be greatly missed. Our thoughts today are with his wife Margaret and his family.”
Cllr Green was founder chairman and current president of Fenland Youth Soccer League and was patron of Fenland Branch of the Royal Society of St George.
He also served on Wisbech Chamber of Commerce Committee, Wisbech Tourism Group, Fenland Twinning Committee, Wisbech Neighbourhood Forum; Wisbech Regeneration and Development Trust and Wisbech Environmental Liaison Group.
In his younger days Cllr Green gained his county colours for athletics, played football for Hereford United, Upwell Town and Wisbech Rovers. He also boxed as an amateur and enjoyed playing cricket and badminton.
He was a director of Wisbech Town FC for 30 years before becoming vice-president, and for 13 years he was a professional talent scout for Reading FC.
Spencer Larham, editor of Wisbech Town’s website, said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that we learned of the untimely death of Councillor Roger Green in a road traffic accident.
“Roger was well known at the club, having served as chairman and press officer to name just two positions he has occupied.
“When he resigned as a director of the club a few years ago he was given the honorary title of vice-president.
“It is hoped that a minute’s silence can be observed at our game against March tonight and at the home pre-season friendly against Holbeach on Saturday.
“The club wishes to pass on its condolences to Roger’s family at this difficult time.”
John Petch, Wisbech Town FC vice-president, added: “He’s a man of integrity and a man who always did what he thought was best for the people concerned. He’s played an absolutely vital role in the club over the years in a number of different roles.
“It’s been a very sad summer for the club as we’ve lost two stalwarts in Bert Roseberry and Roger. Both were great men and long suffering supporters. We can never thank them enough for what they’ve done.
“I’m in a state of shock – they were more than just football associates, they became my friends.
“Today’s a very sad day for the football club and the thoughts of everybody at Wisbech Town is with Margaret and Roger’s family at this time.”
The A47 was closed for several between the road’s roundabouts with the A1101 Churchill Road and the B198 Lynn Road.
Paul Richardson, editorial director of Archant Herts and Cambs, said: “Roger will be greatly missed. I did not know him well, but he always cut a dash and his devotion to Wisbech and its people shone through everything he did.
“All my dealings with him, from my time as a junior reporter on the Cambs Times to a recent conversation at the Fenland Building Design Awards revealed him to be a man of charm, knowledge, intelligence and integrity. An impressive gentleman.”
• Cllr Green’s blue Nissan Almera was travelling towards King’s Lynn when it collided with a black Audi A4 estate heading in the opposite direction.
The driver of the Audi, a man in his mid 40s from the Leicester area, received arm and leg injuries whilst his female passenger received internal injuries.
Officers from the Serious Collision Investigation Team at Norfolk Police are investigating the crash. A spokesman said: “Anyone who witnessed the collision or the manner of driving of either vehicle prior to the collision are asked to contact SCIT on 0845 456 4567.”
• Return to this website later for more tributes to Cllr Roger Green. You can leave your tributes on this page.