Lymington Times – 8 February 2019
Tributes have poured in for Charles Starr Curry, who edited the Advertiser & Times for nearly 50 years, following his death on Saturday. Known for his fierce independence, generous nature, sense of fun and love of all things mechanical, he was 98.
After taking over the editor’s chair in 1966, he made the A&T one of the most respected and successful newspapers in the country while at the same time helping hundreds of young reporters embark on their careers as he shared his passion for covering anything from WI meetings to sensational murder trials.
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'He personified what is best about journalism'
Guardian columnist, former Daily Mirror editor and professor of journalism, Roy Greenslade, said:
“I salute Charles Curry and mourn his passing. He personified what is best about journalism. His philosophy was simple: newspapers should serve the community by publishing information of benefit to that community.
“The response from readers of the New Milton Advertiser and Lymington Times was loyalty, because they kept on buying the title while sales of local papers elsewhere declined. They recognised the virtues of his editorial content and, in turn, he recognised that his kind of journalism could only be maintained if he kept his newspaper out of the hands of the conglomerates that own the vast majority of Britain’s local press.
“He was modest and hard-working. When I called Charles to congratulate him on reaching 90, he replied: “Thank you, but all these calls are interfering with my work. I must get on.” ’
‘He could punch through the pomposity of people like me’
Conservative MP Julian Lewis first came into contact with Charles when he fought and won the New Forest East seat in 1997:
“I realised straight away I was dealing with someone who was hugely well-informed and influential, and someone whose regard I felt I needed to earn. I thought he was an absolutely phenomenal and unforgettable character. He was completely fearless. He knew how to punch through the pomposity of people like me.
“My favourite story in that respect was a time when I was trying unsuccessfully to persuade Charles that a particular cause was deserving of attention in the paper and he said to me: ‘That’s a subject, I think, for a national.’ To this I replied, flatteringly: ‘But, Charles, people read your newspaper’. And he instantly and wittily responded: ‘Yes – and I intend to keep it that way!’
“I can truly say that, even though he was 98 and had a tremendous innings, the New Forest will not feel quite the same without that sharpness of wit and commitment to always being on the ball. He was quick-witted and determined and willing to take politicians down a peg or two, if they deserved it. I had a huge respect for him. He knew the area, he knew the personalities, but above all he knew the people. He was a great journalist and a great man.”
New Forest West MP Sir Desmond Swayne said:
“Charles was a truly amazing character. In addition to being a very successful proprietor of the A&T with, for so many years, his own column, he had a wide range of interests and, in particular, with technical solutions to any number of different problems.
“I frequently received faxes from him suggesting technical fixes for issues being faced by the Ministry of Defence and UK Border Force. He was always ‘on the ball’ and with a mischievous sense of fun. He will be missed very much indeed.”
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