Former editor dies aged 84

Gordon Collins.
Gordon Collins.

Former Standard editor Gordon Collins has passed away. He was 84.

Gordon, who worked in the top job at the Standard for 16 years, died just a few days before his 85th birthday.

Fellow ex-Standard editor John Cowpe, who worked with Gordon for many years, said: “Gordon was a true Christian gentleman - always looking to help others, generous and fair-minded.

“He was incredibly active in many aspects of the community and as a journalist he was dedicated to rooting out the truth. The number of people who attended Gordon’s funeral was evidence of the respect in which he was held.”

Gordon was a southerner with strong Lincolnshire roots.

Born in Camden, London, and brought up in Heston, Middlesex, he attended Spring Grove Grammar School in Isleworth and did his National Service as a Royal Army Educational Corps sergeant in Cyprus.

He was a journalist all his life, starting in 1946 with Middlesex County Press in Southall, Middlesex. Moving to Nuneaton, Warwickshire, he met his future wife Jean. He moved on to work on the Leicester Evening Mail and then to edit a small paper in Lancashire and in 1958, living in Nuneaton and working as chief reporter on the Congleton Chronicle in Cheshire, he married Jean.

Another move brought him to Peterborough as chief reporter and then his final move brought him to Skegness, and later Bilsby, as editor of the Skegness, Mablethorpe and Alford Standard for the last 16 years of his working life.

Gordon and Jean were always active in their local communities, wherever they lived. They were assistant Scouters for many years in Nuneaton, Congleton and Peterborough.

Gordon was a life-member of the National Union of Journalists and of Lions International, of which he was also a Melvin Jones Fellow. He helped to found the Skegness Lions Club and was president for one year.

He spent ten years on Alford Town Council and was Mayor in 2001-2. He kept meticulous diaries and never threw any away; they document his boyhood, his teenage in wartime and his very active adult life. He also recorded his life in photographs. He loved music and was a keen pianist.

Gordon retired in 1997 and enjoyed a very active retirement. In 1997 he was a member of the committee that founded Alford and District Twinning Association, twinning with Conlie in France, and he held the office of vice chairman.

Previously he was on the committee of the Skegness Twinning Association. He was a member of Alford Civic Trust and the Horticultural Society. He loved his little garden at Park View Cottage.

Another important facet of Gordon’s life was his deep Christian faith. From boyhood service as a choir boy he became a lay Reader in the Church of England from 1960 to 2005 and was then a Reader Emeritus for the rest of his life.

He served for many years on St Wilfrid’s Parochial Church Council and was editor of the Group Messenger, the local parish magazine, for eight years and assistant editor thereafter.

He was chairman and then secretary of Alford and District Crime Prevention Panel and helped to start BADGE in Bilsby, serving on the committee for a few years. Gordon was widowed in 2007 and died a few days before his 85th birthday. He leaves a daughter, Christine, son-in-law Andrew and grandson Michael, living in Sidcup, Kent.