Dan Barrett: sub-editor on nationals

Dan Barrett, who has died aged 55 after a six-month battle against cancer, had worked for 37 years as a journalist in London.

He was of the old school of Fleet Street sub-editors, working to deadlines with good humour and high professionalism.

A big man – he was a schoolboy boxing champion – he had the gentlest of natures and was liked and respected wherever he worked during a varied career. He had faced his illness with characteristic grit and determination, fighting and cracking jokes to the end.

Dan, his two sisters and two brothers had a hard start in life. He was born in a prefab in Nunhead, near Peckham, south London. The family found it difficult to make ends meet, but Dan set his sights on a good education, winning a scholarship to St Joseph’s Academy in Blackheath, leaving at 16 to teach English to schoolboys in Lille, France.

On his return, he worked in the trade press, including the Electrical Trader, before breaking into national newspapers. Titles he worked for included The Sun, Today, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and The Times.

Dan was a contract Saturday man on The Sunday Times for 14 years. He ended his career on The Guardian, where he had worked since 1997, on the sub-editors’ desk in the financial department. When his departmental colleagues gave him a lunch, knowing the dreadful prognosis, it was Dan, true to form, who took the lead in making the occasion lighthearted.

He had a wide circle of friends, kept up his interest in boxing and was fond of golf.

Dan was predeceased by his wife, Brenda, in 2000 and leaves a son, Paul, sisters Mary and Maureen and brothers Michael and John.

Rob Firth

Rob Firth

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