Clifford Lackey

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WHEN Leeds, like many other cities at the time, had two rival evening papers, competition between the Yorkshire Evening Post and the Yorkshire Evening News for scoops, readers and advertisers, was intense.

Very much involved in that fierce-fought campaign was Clifford Lackey, deputy editor of the Evening News, who has died aged 94.

With his passing, newspaper history loses perhaps its last living repository of anecdotes arising from that frantic, fascinating period.

It came to an end when United Newspapers, owners the Evening News, bought into Conservative Newspapers, owners of the Evening Post, sacrificing the News to become a major shareholder in the opposition.

Mr Lackey was born in Leeds and educated at the City of Leeds High School, leaving at 16 to take a job on a weekly paper, the Armley and Wortley News.

Within two years he moved to the Yorkshire Evening News as a reporter. The Second World War interrupted his career and he would become a staff-sergeant in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was among the final remnants of the British Army to leave the beach at Dunkirk.

After being blown up leading a party of wounded men, he was evacuated and remained unconscious on the Channel crossing.

His next memory was the announcement of York Station before the train travelled on to Hexham Hospital, where, following his convalescence, he worked for a while.

Returning to journalism and the Evening News, Mr Lackey eventually became a feature writer, news editor and finally deputy editor.

Perhaps one of the greatest accolades paid to this Leeds journalist came from a surprising source. Sir Linton Andrews, renowned editor of the Yorkshire Post, described him as being the finest journalist in the North of England.

In 1964. the News having ceased publication, he moved to Tetley’s Brewery as publicity and information manager, a position he held for 18 years until his retirement when he was invited to write Quality pays…The Story of Joshua Tetley & Son.

Retaining his sense of humour to the last, Mr Lackey is survived by Sara, his wife of 70 years, and their daughter Amanda and son-in-law Paul.