FOSTER: Derek, OBE

Died December 2004, aged 80: Derek Foster, who died after an illness borne with great courage, became news editor of the Yorkshire Post in 1969, in which post he remained until his retirement in September 1989. Derek, who lived in Beechfield, Sandal, was awarded the OBE in the same year. His pivotal role was recognised by the editor, the late John Edwards, who made him assistant editor (news) in 1970, and associate editor, head of the news room in 1981. Derek would have been deputy editor but for a house rule which insisted that the deputy be younger than the editor. For some 15 years he compiled crosswords for Women’s Post under the pseudonym ‘Delphi’ and he was responsible for the Saturday general knowledge crosswords in the main paper.

Born in Grimethorpe, he developed an early interest in journalism. At Hemsworth Grammar School it was certainly known to his fellow pupils, including Audrey Welch. It was she who told him that there was a vacancy in the news room of the local Hemsworth weekly and, aged 15, Derek joined as a cub reporter, but was soon working on a paper in York. At the outbreak of war he volunteered for the Fleet Air Arm and served in the Pacific theatre. At the end of hostilities he rejoined the York paper and in 1949 married Audrey Welch. His job took him to Northallerton, where the couple remained for the next three years. They moved to Wakefield in 1952 when Derek got a job as a district reporter with the Yorkshire Post.

From there he was moved in 1964 to the Leeds head office to become agricultural correspondent, in which job he set up the newspaper's farming section, Farming Post. He played a prominent role in the Institute of Journalists, of which he became national president, and was chairman of the Yorkshire and eastern counties committee of the National Council for the Training of Journalists. He was a chairman of Wakefield Round Table and Wakefield 41 Club and was an active Freemason. As well as his widow, he left a daughter and three granddaughters.

To read the full Yorkshire Post tribute, click here

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