Media veteran and entrepreneur Sir Ray Tindle has died aged 95, it has been announced.
Sir Ray was chairman of Tindle Newspapers, stepping down at the age of 90 but remaining chairman of the company, his son Owen succeeding him.
An ad on the company’s website describes him as a “newsman through and through” and praises his “lifelong commitment and passion for the newspaper industry“.
Born in 1926 to John Robert and Maud Tindle, Sir Ray was evacuated from London during the Second World War and was educated at Torquay Boys’ Grammar School.
He began his publishing career running a newspaper on the troop ship that took him to the Far East, where he served between 1944 and 1947.
He was later quoted in the Farnham Herald – a Tindle publication – as saying: “Everyone was a soldier and everyone had a story.
“After a few days, the troops started liking the ship’s paper. It was about themselves and things they were or had been involved in. It was “local” to them, in a way.
“These five weeks of ‘crash course’ in journalism decided my future. Since then I have been in locals full time and have loved every minute with my awesome staff to make local weekly papers strong and viable.
Back in the UK, Sir Ray acquired his first newspaper title, the Tooting and Balham Gazette, with his demo payment of £300.
He would go on to launch and acquire local newspapers and radio stations covering Wales, Surrey, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Ireland, the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and more Again.
Sir Ray was honored with a EBO in 1973, CBE in 1987 and knighted in 1994 for his services to the newspaper industry.
He has held senior positions in the media industry, including Chairman of the Newspaper Society, and was a director on the main board of The Guardian and Manchester Evening News for 18 years.
He would also go on to set up 10 centers aimed at reducing unemployment in the 1980s – backed by then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
The scale of his empire and his dedication to personally thanking staff was such that Sir Ray’s traditional Christmas lunch with the staff of each of his newspapers would take several weeks either side of the New Year.
His family motto – “Never Surrender” – manifested in his stoic devotion to his newspapers and the fight against the digital revolution.
Talking about the secrets of his diaries’ success in 2013, he told Radio 4: “It’s magic. We manage these logs individually, they really manage themselves.
“My papers are local weeklies and we’ve lost a bit of advertising, of course, but we’ve been able to catch up partly with display ads and we still have a profit and we’re still surviving pretty well thank you.
“Although mine do not broadcast national news, I must say categorically and as strongly as possible that I am convinced that we must uphold the right to freedom of expression and the right to have a free press.
“Freedom of expression is non-negotiable.”
He is survived by his wife, Lady Tindle, his son Owen and his granddaughter Maisy.