Death of former Fleet Street night editor and BBC journalist Ian Skidmore who retired to the Fens
- Credit: Archant
Author and broadcaster Ian Skidmore, who has died aged 84, was known in March for his wit and colourful appearance (he often sported exotic waistcoats purchased from gentlemen’s outfitter Boon & Potter) although he had only lived in the town for 10 years.
Many March people were also loyal followers of his weekly blog, Skidmore’s Island.
Ian, an avid reader, left school at 12 (the war was on) and always maintained he was educated in paperback – M.A., Penguin.
Born and brought up in Manchester, he joined the Black Watch (RHR) as a National Serviceman at the age of 18 and was posted to Germany where, more by accident than design, he found himself in the army public relations unit. His first assignment was to cover the Berlin Airlift.
Back in Civvy Street, he joined the Manchester City News, progressing from there to the Yorkshire Evening Post, the Daily Despatch in Liverpool and finally the Daily Mirror in Manchester at a time when all the national papers had offices in the city – it was known as the second Fleet Street. He was night news editor of the Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the People.
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In the early ‘60s he went freelance, setting up a successful agency in Chester. The biggest story he covered was the Moors Murders trial held at Chester Crown Court.
In 1971 he married fellow journalist Celia Lucas and they moved to the Isle of Anglesey where Ian worked for nearly 30 years with BBC Wales, presenting radio and television programmes all over the Principality and beyond. One of his most popular programmes was his weekly ‘Radio Brynsiencyn’ which he presented from his cottage in the village of that name. He also worked for the World Service, Australian Broadcasting, Granada TV, HTV and Radio 4.
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Ian wrote over 30 books - two novels, several biographies, topographical books and, perhaps his most popular, his own idiosyncratic story ‘Forgive Us Our Press Passes’.
He retired in 2003 and moved with Celia to March (his father-in-law Dr Angus Menzies had been a GP in Doddington). Soon after, he started his weekly blog, which, with its wit, humour and penetrating observations on every aspect of life, attracted a wide readership.
Ian died at his home in Elwyn Court on Thursday after a short illness. He was entertaining medical staff, nurses, friends and family almost to the end.
He leaves his wife Celia, two daughters and a son, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
The funeral will take place at March Crematorium at 11.30 on October 18 and the wake at March Golf Club.