Don Goggin, one of the West Midlands’ most distinguished journalistic figures of the Sixties and Seventies, has died, aged 83, following a fall at his home in Sutton Coldfield.

Donal Colm Goggin was born in September 1923 in Cork. His newspaper career lasted for more than 34 years, first opening his reporter’s notebook with the Birmingham Post in 1950, before progressing on to become chief reporter of the Walsall Observer, then editor of the Sutton Coldfield News from 1966 to 1971.

In 1971, he was appointed editor-in-chief of the West Midlands Press group, whose titles included, among others, the Walsall Observer, Sutton Coldfield News, Solihull News and the now defunct Warley News Telephone. He became editorial director of WMP in 1973.

Throughout his career, he maintained an interest in the training of aspiring journalists and was a member of the West Midlands Advisory Committee for the Training of Journalists, the National Council for the Training of Journalists and of the Guild of British Newspaper Editors. He was also on the BBC Midland Regional Advisory Council.

Don retired from newspapers in 1984, having been influential in the careers of many of the region’s more successful journalists, including weekly newspaper editors Mike Wilson, John Hardeman and Martin Robinson. ITV’s Bob Warman, lead presenter of Central News at Six was also one of his protégés at the Sutton Coldfield News.

On his retirement, his colleagues produced a special edition of the Sutton News which recalled his earlier career as a Spitfire pilot with the Irish Air Corps in the Second World War, during which he usually, but not always, managed to land his plane the right way up.

After leaving newspapers, Don went into public relations until the mid-Nineties.

Nigel Pipkin, Sutton Coldfield News editor from 1990 to 1996, said: ‘Don was editorial director when I first joined the Sutton News as a raw trainee. I had to travel to the West Midlands Press head office in Leamore Lane, Walsall, to meet him, so I was a bit nervous.

‘But he welcomed me with such wonderful Irish charm that I was out the door again before I realised he’d just told me I’d be getting less than I hoped for! He was a real character about whom many people have fond memories and who will be sadly missed.”

Don died on 15 July, at Good Hope Hospital, two days after his fall. He leaves a wife, Beryl, son Niall, aged 41, and daughter Catherine, 37.

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