Ray’s passion for town and ’paper

Former Eveing News editor Ray Lazenby
Former Eveing News editor Ray Lazenby

A SCARBOROUGH journalist who edited the Evening News for more than two decades has died.

Ray Lazenby, of Avenue Victoria, passed away after a short illness at Scarborough Hospital on Sunday morning, aged 87.

Ray Lazenby

Ray Lazenby

His wife of 61 years, Jean, said yesterday: “He was so enthusiastic about his town – he loved Scarborough. He really was a lovely, loyal man.”

Ray was born in Bradford in 1923 and moved to Scarborough three years later when his father, William, started a business as a stained glass artist and leaded-light maker.

Ray attended Falsgrave Infants and Junior School, Hinderwell Junior School and completed his primary education at Scalby CE School after his family moved to Cleveland Avenue in Newby.

He was a Scarborough High School for Boys student from 1935 to 1940 and worked briefly in the Scarborough Corporation treasurer’s department before he began a remarkable newspaper career in 1941.

He joined the Evening News as a junior reporter, covering the infamous 1943 Vine Street murder, when 33-year-old Mary Comins was strangled.

A promising career in journalism was interrupted later that year, when he signed up to the RAF.

He learned to fly Tiger Moth and Harvard aircraft in South Africa, before qualifying as a bomb-aimer and navigator.

Ray returned to England in 1945 before serving in Cairo as an intelligence officer.

The pull of his local newspaper proved too strong though, and he rejoined the Evening News in 1947, becoming football, theatre and pigeon correspondent.

Under the eye of then editor and newspaper owner Sir Meredith Whittaker, Ray rose through the ranks, becoming a sub-editor and news editor before eventually succeeding Mr Whittaker in 1965.

“Ray looked up to Meredith,” Jean said. “They had a very good working relationship.”

He would remain in the editor’s chair for an incredible 21 years, overseeing 12,000 editions of the paper, before retiring in 1986, aged 63.

“He had offers, but he was never really tempted to move to a larger newspaper,” said Jean. “He always said he couldn’t be away from the seaside.”

Ray will not only be remembered as a talented newspaper man. He was also a devoted husband and dad. He and Jean had four children – Simon, Tim, Richard and Vicki.

“He gave 100 per cent at work and 100 per cent at home,” said Simon.

Vicki added: “He was a loving dad. He was fair and always there for us.”

In later life, Ray was an equally devoted grandparent, taking a keen interest in his nine grandchildren.

As well as his passion for journalism, Ray loved the theatre and amateur dramatics and was a lifelong fan of Everton FC.

“I will miss him terribly, but we had a long, wonderful retirement together and he enjoyed every bit of it,” added Jean.

“The care at Scarborough Hospital was wonderful.”

A funeral service will take place on Wednesday April 27 at St Mark’s Church in Newby, at 11.45am.