Ralph Silvester, journalist

Ralph Silvester
Ralph Silvester
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Ralph Silvester, who has died at 74, was a local and national newspaper journalist and community fundraiser.

Known to his close friends as Ross, he joined the old Doncaster Chronicle in 1961, after leaving the town’s Grammar, and went on to the South Yorkshire edition of the Yorkshire Evening Post, which became the Doncaster Evening Post in 1970.

In his time there as reporter, sub-editor, motoring correspondent and picture editor, his protégés included Clive Jones, who would go on to become chief executive of ITV News.

When the Evening Post closed in 1983, he spent six years commuting between his home in Hatfield, near Doncaster, to Manchester, where he worked night shifts on the sub-editors’ desks at the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail and principally the Daily Express – a patten he continued until production in Manchester ended in 1989.

Having refused the offer of a job on the Express in London, he devoted much of his time to his wife Jean’s family business of Lockwoods Florists. His daily commute to Manchester had curtailed his fundraising with the Thorne Rural Lions Club, but from the 1990s he threw himself into local community work in Hatfield, where he and Jean were regular worshippers at St Lawrence’s Parish Church. He was for many years chairman of the board of governors for Travis St Lawrence Church of England Primary School, a member and treasurer of the Travis Trust board and a former chairman of the Parochial Church Council.

He owned a succession of Harley Davidson motor cycles, and having passed his advanced motoring test on four wheels years earlier, he put his passion to use as an instructor and observer for the York Advanced Motorcyclists charity.

He is survived by Jean, to whom he had been married for 52 years, their children Tara, Jonathan and Fiona and seven grandchildren.