Legendary Daily Mirror and Sun news sub Bob Spivey has died after a distinguished 25-year Fleet Street career.
Bob collapsed from a heart attack while he was captaining the Mirror/Sun Badgers cricket team at a match in Devon. He was 56.
a supreme operator, the gentle Yorkshireman with forensic subbing
skills had handled some of the biggest stories of the past two decades.
It was fitting that one of his last jobs was to sub the Mirror’s Kate
Last week a huge turnout of friends and
colleagues filled the crematorium at Harwood Park, Stevenage, to
standing room only. There they paid tribute to a consummate
professional who honed his talents in hot metal then brought them
polished to new technology.
Mirror executive editor Jon Moorhead
told mourners: “Bob was a Fleet Street journalist of the highest class.
Meticulous, persistent, enthusiasticâ€¦ relentless in his pursuit of
accuracy and information.
“To Bob, every story was a challenge. As
well as getting words in the right order, that challenge included
filling in gaps. Where others might have fudged it, Bob moved into
“He was an old-fashioned sub who embraced new technology with gusto.
knew his job was important and his enthusiasm never relented. But he
was never arrogant. He had a tremendous sense of justice and fair play
and – however busy – was always helpful.”
Bob joined the Whitley
Bay Guardian in 1971, moving to the Evening Advertiser in Swindon in
1972 and the London Evening News in 1978. In 1980, he joined The Sun.
He is remembered as one of the few who would not crumble before its
turbulent editor Kelvin MacKenzie.
MMirror editor Richard Wallace
said in a message to staff: “When I was a reporter, and later on the
newsdesk, the sight of Bob’s furrowed brow made me sit up that bit
“Like a barrister he often exposed a fundamental flaw in a story with a couple of deft, seemingly unconnected, questions.
you successfully cleared it up you were rewarded with a thoughtful nod.
If you did not, the brow would furrow more severely and Bob would sigh,
knowing he would somehow have to make sense of it.”
As a boy, Bob was a gifted soccer player who dreamed of going professional.
was selected for Yorkshire Schoolboys and trained with England
Schoolboys before going to Leicester University to read sociology.
other passion was cricket. His tenacious hold on the wicket earned him
the nickname of the Crease Limpet. He died playing the game he loved,
surrounded by colleagues from the job he loved.
Bob leaves a wife Joan, a son Gregg and daughter Ruth.