Jack Foster, former London Editor of the Birmingham Evening Mail, has died (on 14 May) at his home in Harrogate, aged 85. He had been suffering from cancer.
During his successful career, Jack also became Political Editor at Westminster Press, a regional group which owned a chain of 60 newspapers.
Paying tribute, John Hipwood, a former Lobby Correspondent on the Express and Star, said: "Jack was a lovely man, a gentleman in every way and a great Midlands competitor. He loved sport and will have been relieved to have seen his beloved West Ham maintain their Premier League status this season. He was a great supporter too of cricket, dividing his loyalties between Essex and his home county of Yorkshire.
“His death will be a particular blow to several current members of the Press Gallery, who worked under Jack's tutelage during his time as London Editor of Westminster Press,” added John.
London-based Nevill Boyd Maunsell, who retired in 2013 as Birmingham Post Economics Editor after a near-40 year career with the newspaper, recalled: “Jack steered the London office of the Evening Mail with unfailing good sense and good humour in the mid-1970s at a time of great turbulence for the Evening Mail and its sister paper The Birmingham Post.
“Members of the National Union of Journalists in Birmingham were on strike for eleven weeks at one time, in a dispute that did not formally involve their colleagues in London. Jack handled with great aplomb the division between those who went on writing for papers produced by their editors and members of the Institute of Journalists and those who felt they should support their NUJ colleagues in Birmingham.
“It was largely due to Jack's calm and common-sense that the bitter feuding that developed in Birmingham never spread to his London office. No mean achievement,” added Nevill.
Reg Harcourt, former Political Editor with ATV, said: “It must be 50 years since I first met Jack. We both came to Birmingham from different newspapers in Nottingham for jobs on the Evening Despatch and ended up in digs in the same big rambling house in Farquhar Road ,Edgbaston.
“We both went our separate ways when he left to work in London while I stayed on at the Despatch before joining ATV.
“Years later our paths crossed again - in the House of Commons. Jack was in the Press Gallery while I was a less frequent visitor to the Lobby - both of us with very different deadlines.
“But I will always remember him as a really good bloke, both socially and professionally.”
The funeral service will be at 2.20 pm on 30 May at Stonefall Cemetery and Crematorium, Wetherby Road, Harrogate, HG3 1DE