Tributes to Mick Jefferson, one of Scarborough's longest-serving journalists, who has died aged 92

The funeral takes place this week of Mick Jefferson, one of Scarborough’s longest-serving journalists.

By Steve Bambridge
Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 4:25 pm

Mick passed away, aged 92, on December 9. A service takes place at Woodlands Crematorium at 11am on Wednesday December 22.

He leaves wife Lily and two sons, Tim and Robin.

On the Scarborough Evening News Mick served as a reporter, sub-editor, chief sub-editor, deputy editor and acting editor, for a total of nearly 43 years. In that time he never took one day off sick.

Mick Jefferson was a stalwart of the Scarborough Evening News.

When he retired he continued to write weekly articles and features for the paper and its successor The Scarborough News for another 20 years, notably Mems, Scarborough Diary and Yesterdays.

He finally stopped his contributions, due to failing health, at the age of 83.

Mick was a reporter and sub-editor in the days of hot metal, and when, before television took off in the 1960s, the Evening News was the main source of both local and national news.

Interviewed in 1999, he said he had been “a privileged spectator with a front row seat for all the memorable happenings in Scarborough for half a century”.

Mick at the age of 17.

Born and bred in Scarborough, he went to Central and the Boys’ High schools. After serving two years’ National Service in East Africa, Mick returned to the town without a career to pursue, and almost stumbled into journalism.

Before going to Africa he had planned to be a teacher, but then spotted an advert for a trainee reporter and decided to apply.

“At 20 I was a relative latecomer, trainee reporters usually started at 16,” he said.

At the time there was no recognised training; Mick was one of the first in the country to enrol onto a new national training scheme.

Mick in his Army days, during National Service.

The ever-dedicated Mick even sat a shorthand exam the day after his honeymoon. He had met Lily at the Evening News; she was the general manager’s secretary.

Mick became a senior reporter, and remembered covering two major stories: the 1953 storm, which caused devastation on the seafront, and the sinking of the lifeboat ECJR.

After eight years as a reporter Mick became a sub-editor, and then chief sub-editor, then deputy editor. He had a spell as acting editor before retiring in 1992.

But his local knowledge and keen eye for detail meant his writing days were far from over; his columns were a must-read for many.

Lily, 90, said of her husband: “I used to say I was his second wife – behind the paper. He was totally devoted to it, it was his life. If something cropped up for the paper he had to do it, everything else was secondary.”

Outside work, Mick served on Seamer Parish Council for some 37 years, and he was a member of the executive committee of the Yorkshire Local Councils Association.

He was a keen sea angler and rifle-shot, was a member of Scarborough Amateur Radio Society, and rode his beloved motorbike until an advanced age!

Steve Bambridge, Editor of The Scarborough News, said: “I worked with Mick from the second half of the ’80s until he finally gave up writing.

"He was a great mentor – I succeeded him as chief sub – and a shining example to young reporters. His love of the job, the newspaper and the town ran very deep in him.”

Former Editor Ed Asquith said: “Mick was the Scarborough link between the linotype, typewriter and the computer world of media.

"He was old-school in the best sense of the word – well-informed, erudite and a gentleman. Mick will never be forgotten by all those who worked with him.”