Brian Doel, owner of the regional West Country Sunday Independent, has died.
Only hours before his death he had been assisting with the 200-year-old Sunday Independent’s latest edition, celebrating the achievements of a host of West Country Olympians.
Doel, 70, returned to his publication in the South West of England after retiring as group managing director of Tindle Newspapers in May 2014.
He died while he and his wife Sam were in Cornwall on Saturday night. He is also survived by daughter Alexandra.
Born in Dundee, Doel spent his whole life in newspapers, serving first as a reporter on the Mid Devon Advertiser when he was 16.
He later joined other Devon weekly titles, including the Sunday Independent, before moving into management when the title became part of the Mirror Newspapers’ training scheme.
Doel headed a consortium of local businessmen who bought out the Mirror, and the successful development of several titles around the flagship Sunday Independent, which eventually led to a long association with the Tindle group.
When he took over a majority holding in the Sunday Independent a little over two years ago, it marked a 40-year association with the paper,
He said at the time: “The Sunday Independent was launched in 1808 and has survived Napoleon and two World Wars. It has another 200 years ahead.”
Under his stewardship, the Sunday Independent became a sports and leisure-led newspaper, moving to new premises on the outskirts of Liskeard in South East Cornwall.
It saw off the potential threat from a rival Plymouth Sunday title – launched, and subsequently dropped by Local World – and was prospering ahead of the new winter sports season.
Sports editor and editor-in-chief John Collings said: “We have all been deeply shocked by this sudden and sad news.
“Brian always played an active role in this newspaper, contributing on a daily basis and had been with us on Saturday helping to get the paper out. He just loved the Indy.
“I don’t think he could ever retire; newspapers, especially local newspapers with their communities at heart, were what drove him on.
“We are all determined to maintain his work ethos, his principles and his objectives to make the Indy even better still; it’s what he would have wanted and it’s what he will get.”
Doel’s connections with Tindle also continued, as he also oversaw the business dealings of the company’s very successful local radio stations in the Channel Islands and Ireland.
The funeral service will be held at St Paul’s Parish Church, Yelverton, five miles north of Plymouth on the Tavistock Road (PL20 6AB), on Tuesday, 23 August 23 at 2.30 pm.
The family have asked for donations to the Plymouth and West Devon NSPCC rather than flowers.