Barbara Beatrice Hutchinson 1920-2015

Posted on by CIoJ in CIoJ News, News, Obituary | 2 Comments

Barbara Hutchinson

The word that first comes to mind when thinking of Barbara is “indomitable”. When over 90 and suffering from arthritis and a badly damaged leg among other things, she declared that she was going to book herself into the Grand Hotel at Eastbourne and get herself there by train – and she did. Rejecting all offers of help. lt was typical of how life went for her.

We first met on the Bournemouth Times (later taken over by the Evening Echo). She wrote as Roberta Fearn, on fashion and the social scene active in Bournemouth at the time. She left on the spot when she discovered that her name was being used in an advertising tie-up with a local department store. Hard as it was then – early Fifties – for women to make their way without the right contacts, off she went to London!

She worked on London weeklies before moving into the women’s magazine world, and finally to the Press Association first as fashion writer and later on general news.

After her retirement in the early 1980’s fate took an unkind turn. She was determined to find other work and on her way to an interview was knocked to the ground by one of the “oddbods” who used to frequent Fleet Street. A hip replacement and arthritis resulted. But she continued covering the Paris fashion shows until about 2010 for various publications including some in Australia.

One of her great regrets was that she would not be able to go to Ascot again…

Barbara, a long-time member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, died on July 2, within a whisker of her 95th birthday. She was recognized at Pickering House, Dorking, run by the Journalists Charity, as the character she had always been.

Barbara Hutchinson’s funeral details:

Leatherhead Crematorium, July 24, 3.30pm and afterwards at Pickering House where she had received such excellent and devoted care.

Vera King

Tribute to a much loved broadcaster – James Alexander Gordon

Posted on by CIoJ in CIoJ News, News, Obituary | Leave a comment

James Alexander Gordon

A warm tribute’s been paid to broadcaster James Alexander Gordon who has died, by the journalists organisation of which he was an active member for thirty years. The Chartered Institute of Journalists said he would be greatly missed by his many colleagues and friends – but especially by all those who worked with him at Radio 2 and in the Institute.

President of the Institute, Paul Leighton who read news alongside “JAG” for many years at Radio 2, said he would always be remembered as a “loyal friend, a true gentleman and a thoroughly professional broadcaster”. ” He was always a consummate professional on air, but off duty he had a wicked sense of humour and was a marvellous raconteur” Leighton said that James was was famous -r possibly notorious – for his story of his chilling night-time encounter with the “Langham Ghost” – the Langham being a former Hotel opposite Broadcasting House where newsmen and announcers had bedrooms for covering “split-shifts”

After an early career in the music business, James started work as a newsreader/announcer at the BBC in the seventies – and began reading the classified football results in 1973. His unique cadences meant that listeners knew the outcome of a match after hearing only the first score. James joined the Institute of Journalists in the early eighties and soon became Vice-Chairman of the Institute’s Broadcasting Division and an active participant in Institute meetings and events. He was also in much demand as an after-dinner speaker and compere.

Although he formally retired from the BBC in 1992, he went on reading the soccer results for Radio5 Live until he had an operation for cancer on his larynx in 2013.

James leaves a wife Julia, son David and two grandchildren Molly and Martha.

Leighton said ” James was a one-off. No other broadcaster will ever be quite as instantly recognisable – or as much loved. Our thoughts go out to Julia and his family”



Former IoJ Deputy General Secretary, Jim Paterson, dies

Posted on by CIoJ in Alerts, News, Obituary | 3 Comments

Jim Paterson

Former Institute Deputy General Secretary, Jim Paterson, has died aged 88.

Members of the Chartered Institute of Journalists remember with great fondness, the 17 years’ service that Jim Paterson gave to the organisation as its Deputy General Secretary.

Above all, he will be remembered for his loyalty and dedication to the IoJ and his sheer mental and physical energy at chapter meetings and annual conference, where his mantra of ‘recruit – recruit – recruit’ is still remembered today.

Jim’s commitment to fighting the closed shop during the 1970s played no small part in bringing about change to the law on union membership. Similarly, his diplomacy and sound advice when handling disputes won him admiration among his peers.

He was a human dynamo who was equally loved by members and staff for his strength, kindness and boundless good humour.

Obituary – Eileen Summers

Posted on by CIoJ in Obituary | Leave a comment

Eileen Vincent Summers

Eileen was born in London on August 4, 1918 and died on August 1, 2009 – three days short of her 91st birthday.

Eileen was adopted by a couple named Arthur and Lizzie Gladman, who had lost their only son in the Battle of the Somme. Throughout her life she tried to find answers to the details of her real family and origins, but despite her efforts, she was unsuccessful. All records had been destroyed.

Eileen was a writer and a working journalist all her life. This is a quote from a letter Eileen wrote to ‘The Journal’ of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

“I was particularly taken by Phillip Paul’s recollection of his days and nights as a cub reporter with the Salisbury Journal. I too, was a trainee reporter at about the same period, with his competition The Salisbury Times for fourteen months and then for a couple of months of World War

II.” Describing her early days as a cub reporter she wrote: “When the editor discovered that not only could I write, I could spell, he let me loose on every type of assignment. From Yehudi Menuhin at the cathedral to inquests, courts martial, police courts and City Council. I had a ball.”

After the war, Eileen married an American, Thomas Summers and moved to Palo Alto California, where she became a staff-writer for the local paper. There were long periods when she lived in Europe where her husband had a diplomatic post.

Divorced, after eighteen years of marriage, Eileen returned to the United States where she went to work for The Washington Post as a staff writer. After six years in Washington, she moved to New York where she was an editorial writer for the CBS all-news flagship radio station in New York and

then writer/researcher with the Elections Unit of NBC Television.

While working in New York, Eileen fell in love and was engaged to marry John Merriman, the Managing Editor of the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. Tragically he was killed in an airplane crash in 1974 shortly before their marriage.

In a verse from a poem Eileen wrote after John Merriman’s death she wrote:

“Don’t tell me that you know just how I feel.

Has death for you, with one swift blow

Become quite real?

Does your true love lie dead? If this is so Then yes, you know Just how I feel.”

After John’s death, Eileen returned to England and went to work for The Oxford Times. She then settled in Egham, Surrey, working as a free-lance journalist. At the same time, she joined the Chartered Institute of Journalists and became a long-serving committee member of the Freelance Division and Trustee of Institute charities. She leaves a collection of plays, short stories, book reviews and poems.


Posted on by CIoJ in Obituary | 2 Comments

CIoJ VETERAN DIES: It is with sadness that I have to inform you that Eileen Summers died on Saturday, 1 August 2009.

She slipped away peacefully while a friend sat with her.

A small memorial service will take place for Eileen at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, tomorrow (5 August) at 1.15pm.