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Times news editor Peter Evans dies aged 86

Former Times news editor Peter Evans has died aged 86.

Evans spent 30 years at the Times reporting on the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia and the Apollo 11 moon landing and conducting investigations into Windrush migrants and the black power movement.

The obituary in the Times said Evans helped create a “rapid-response team” that would charter a plane to cover breaking stories.

Born in Minchinhampton, Gloucesteshire, on 22 March 1932, Evans first broke into journalism as an apprentice on Stroud News and was paid £1 a week for his work.

After serving his national service in the RAF as an officer, Evans joined The Citizen in Gloucester and then the Daily Post and Echo in Liverpool.

Evans started at the Times in 1959 and spent a 30-year career there as news editor, race relations correspondent, home affairs correspondent, obituarist, and founder of the investigative news team.

As part of Times editor William Rees-Mogg’s efforts to modernise the paper, Evans was part of a team of six journalists who could provide rapid coverage of breaking global news stories and undertake investigations.

The Times said in its obituary of Evans that while he was on the news team he “gained the authority to charter an aircraft, or a helicopter, to whisk members of his team to cover major stories”.

One of the team’s most notable stories was their coverage of the grounding of oil tanker SS Torrey Canyon, which was wrecked off Cornwall.

Evans and two other reporters flew over to the wreckage to cover the story as soon as the news broke to interview survivors, rescuers and report on environmental damage.

Evans and his team went on to provide in-depth coverage of the Paris riots and the Biafran War in Nigeria. He was promoted to news editor a year later.

The Times said: “Evans maintained a life-long interest in the issues that divided people and endless enthusiasm for challenging officialdom when he considered it was unfair to the members of the public whom it was meant to serve.”

After retiring from the Times, in 1989, he continued to write.

Evans authored 12 books, including Rebel With a Cause, an autobiography which covered his scrapes with London gangs and religious fanatics while on the beat.

Evans died on 25 May in Lister Hospital in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, after a short illness.

He is survived by his twin children: Tom, a senior journalist in the United States, and Ann, who is a graphic designer.

Picture: Times Newspapers 

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