TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Newsletter chief reporter who went on to head up BBC online news.
Hugh Berlyn passed away on Monday, with his family by his side, at his home in Pershore, Worcestershire, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
He joined the Newsletter as a general reporter in the 1970s, when he was in his 20s.
Former Newsletter editor Peter Atkins, who hired him, said: “He was enthusiastic and keen. He wouldn’t be put off asking questions if people didn’t want to tell him things.”
Philip Thurlow-Craig, a fellow Newsletter reporter at the time, described him as “a good all-rounder” while ex-Newsletter chief reporter Maurice Blisson said: “I got on very well with him and it is sad news that he has died.”
Mr Berlyn, who had two daughters, a son and six grandchildren, is also survived by his wife Lynne.
Originally hailing from the Kidderminster area, he returned in 1977 to be the Kidderminster reporter for the Birmingham Post and Mail before going to the BBC. He later returned to newspapers, firstly as news editor of the Leicester Mercury, then as editor of The Citizen and then Swansea’s Evening Post.
He returned to the BBC in the West Midlands, where he became head of BBC News Online. He retired three years ago and moved with his wife to Crete for two years, fulfilling a long-held ambition, before returning to England to be nearer his family.
Eileen Murphy, Executive Editor of BBC News Online England, who worked with Hugh for a decade, said: "His passion for the highest journalistic standards and love of local news inspired all of those who worked with him to demand the best from ourselves and for our audiences.
"People will remember him as a charismatic editorial leader who recognised talent in his teams and understood that audiences deserve the best journalism at local, national and international levels.
"Whether ruling on a tough editorial dilemma or at leisure he would deliver his judgement with humour and the clarity that comes from being one of the best."