Talented former Sunday Express journalist Ian Fletcher has died after a long illness aged 79.
Friends and colleagues paid tribute to “Fletch”, as he was affectionately known in the newsrooms he graced over a long and distinguished career.
Fletcher began his career at the Prescot & Huyton Reporter, part of the South Lancashire Newspapers group, in his native Liverpool before joining the Manchester office of the Sunday Express, where he worked for ten years.
He also worked on the Daily Mail before joining Today, the first computerised and colour newspaper launched by Eddie Shah in 1986.When the title closed in 1995, Fletcher became a freelance consumer journalist, providing copy to daily and Sunday newspapers for more than 25 years.
He was diagnosed with leukaemia 12 years ago but until last month continued to work, play table tennis and enjoy walking holidays in the Lake District. He was still delighting news desks with his regular calls to offer crisp, readable copy until a month before his death.
Fletcher died at the Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading, Berkshire, on 22 August.
Sunday Express editor David Wooding said: “Ian is remembered as a brilliant story-getter but he was also a mentor and friend to many journalists and will be very sadly missed.
“He could spot a news story a mile off and turn his hand to reporting on any event with his unique mix of hard work, tenacity, compassion and razor-sharp wit.
“Most of all he was a huge inspiration to young journalists, who benefited from his inspiration and experience.”
Former Express man Roger Tavener added: “Fletch was proof one could still be a good bloke, bristling with humanity and a huge smile, while doing a difficult job under immense pressure.”
Fletcher leaves a widow, Eileen, two sons, Mark and Adrian, and four grandchildren, Mae, Nina, Theo and Anna.
The funeral will be at St Paul’s Church, Wokingham, on 8 September at 3pm.
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