Alan Cooper: 'Great bloke and a great journalist' - Press Gazette

Alan Cooper: 'Great bloke and a great journalist'

Journalist Alan Cooper, who worked at both the Yorkshire Post and Daily Mirror before establishing the West Riding News and Sports Service, has died at the age of 82.

Alan, who died in the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary on Wednesday, was born in Bradford and educated at Bradford Grammar School.

He started his journalist career on the Shipley Times and later joined the Yorkshire Post before moving on to work on the Daily Mirror in Manchester.

Alan left the Mirror in February 1954 to set up a news agency with another reporter, the late Stanley Vaughan.

The pair had intended to open up in Nottingham but were deterred from doing so when journalists on the local evening newspaper, which already supplied news stories to the national press, gave up their jobs and formed their own news agency.

Having given up their jobs, Alan and Stanley elected to continue with their plan and relocated their news agency to Huddersfield where they operated successfully for several months before Stanley decided to return to the Daily Mirror.

In October 1954 Stan Solomons, who was then on the Surrey Mirror, in Redhill, joined Alan and the pair went into partnership.

Together they ran the West Riding News and Sports Service for 42 years until they both retired in 1996, by that time the had agency expanded to take in pictures and sport.

The agency supplied stories and pictures to the national daily and Sunday papers, the regional press, the BBC and commercial TV.

Alan’s voice was particularly suited to radio and he was often called on to record events for the BBC as well as working behind the scenes preparing newscasts for BBC TV.

In the early years of the agency, Alan worked in front of camera for Granada TV, which covered the Yorkshire area before the advent of Yorkshire Television.

It was a cause of immense satisfaction for both Alan that the agency trained many journalists who went on to great things.

Former employees spoke warmly of the time they spent with Alan. Many also attended Alan and Stan’s 40th anniversary celebration in 1994.

From South Africa where he is covering the World Cup, Mirror chief football writer Martin Lipton, who worked at the agency from 1989 until 1993, said: ‘I was saddened to hear of Alan’s death. He was a great bloke and a great journalist and I shall always be grateful for the chance he and Stan gave me.”

Tim Russon, a filmmaker worked at the agency in the 1970s, said: ‘What sad news…So many memories are coming back to me of a very good man and a very great journalist.”

Alan, who helped found the National Association of Press Agencies, was twice chairman of the Huddersfield Branch of the National Union of Journalists.

He was a very fine journalist with a terrific news sense and an excellent writer.

For much of our time together we argued a lot about all kinds of things but whether you agreed or disagreed with him he was great company, an amusing story teller and always fun to be with. I have a lot of memories of our time together and I shall miss our Friday lunchtime sessions at the County.

In addition to golf, Alan took a greater interest in walking, reading and holidaying in Spain and Norfolk with Wendy, his partner of 17 years.

Alan, who had been married twice, lived with Wendy in Almondbury, Huddersfield.

He is survived by her, daughters Catherine and Rachel and grandsons Jack and Josh.

His funeral is on Wednesday (30 June) at 10.30 am at the Huddersfield Crematorium and then at the Outlane Golf Club.