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Family pays tribute to respected former EADT editor Don Simpson

Don Simpson during his time working at the EADT. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Don Simpson during his time working at the EADT. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Archant

Former editor-in-chief of the East Anglian Daily Times, Don Simpson, who led the newspaper from 1968 to 1981, has died aged 89.

An official EADT staff photograph of Don Simpson. Picture: ARCHANTAn official EADT staff photograph of Don Simpson. Picture: ARCHANT

Mr Simpson was only the fourth EADT editor and also spent time working for our sister newspaper, the Eastern Daily Press in Norwich, as news editor during the 1950s and 1960s.

His long and successful career in journalism saw him interview royalty and cover some of the most important issues of the time, including the great east coast flood of 1953.

He was also invited to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) when the EADT was the only daily paper in the country to support Ian Smith and the Rhodesian government’s unilateral declaration of independence.

Don Simpson's NUJ card from 1955. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDDon Simpson's NUJ card from 1955. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Born in Plymouth in 1927, Mr Simpson lived his early life in Devon before joining the Royal Corps of Signals.

Daughter Amy Quinn, 59, said her father fell into journalism after the war and quickly took to life working for a newspaper.

She said: “He travelled to the Far East with the Royal Signals just as the war ended and I think after leaving the army in 1948, he was looking for something to get involved in.

In Norwich, during Don's brief time as picture editor. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDIn Norwich, during Don's brief time as picture editor. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

“He really enjoyed journalism and the varied life it gave him.”

After a spell working for a newspaper in Hampshire, Mr Simpson took roles in Swaffham, Sheringham, and Norwich to work for the Eastern Daily Press.

He took over the EADT reins from Ralph Wilson in 1968 and was in charge during the paper’s centenary celebrations of 1974.

A cartoon drawn up after the speeding incident. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDA cartoon drawn up after the speeding incident. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Known as a deeply principled man, Ms Quinn said he always did what he thought was right, which included covering his own speeding caution in the newspaper.

She said: “He always treated people with respect, regardless of who they were or where they came from and taught me to do the same.

“He kept his politics to himself and would never tell me who he had voted for. He would always say, ‘It’s a private ballot’.

“But he certainly had his own ideas, and took me to see the x-rated Bonnie and Clyde when I was much younger than 18 and bought me beer from pubs aged 13 onwards.

“He also had a particularly dry sense of humour, which I suppose is a necessary part of any journalist’s spec.

“He enjoyed a very interesting and varied life.”

Mr Simpson was married for 66 years to Margaret, who passed away last year, and the couple had two children – Amy and Oliver, 61.

He is fondly remembered by his family, including his six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

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