George loses battle with ill-health

A PROMINENT Suffolk figure who played an important part in the county's newspaper industry has died after a long illness.

A PROMINENT Suffolk figure who played an important part in the county's newspaper industry has died after a long illness.

George Lockett, 89, who farmed at Stratford St Mary, enjoyed a key role at The Evening Star's sister paper, the East Anglian Daily Times (EADT) and parent company, formerly Eastern Counties Newspapers Group (ECNG), now Archant.

He was born into a cavalry officer's family and grew up with a love of all things equestrian. He also developed a love of sailing which he enjoyed for almost 60 years.

Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, Mr Lockett served with the Suffolk yeomanry during the Second World War, commanding one of the Bury St Edmunds batteries in north western Europe.

He married Meg Forster during the war, but in 1946 his Australian wife died suddenly, leaving him with a four-year-old son. In 1950 he married Jeannine Vergne, having met in Paris after the war.

Mr Lockett was the great great grandson of Jeremiah Colman, who bought the Suffolk and Essex Newspaper Company, leading to the foundation of the EADT in 1874.

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On joining the newspaper company, Mr Lockett became effectively assistant to the managing editor, Ralph Wilson. He joined the EADT in 1947 and became a director of the company in 1949, at a time when the business was expanding rapidly.

Mr Lockett became a farmer in 1961, when his great aunt died.

As well as farming and responsibilities with the EADT and ECN, Mr Lockett had also been chairman of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, and a member of the Anglo-American community relations committee.

In addition, he served as chairman of the Friends of the Ipswich Museum and had been a member of the fundraising committee of the Wolsey Theatre. He also helped with fundraising for the University of East Anglia.

Mr Lockett had also been a council member for the Red Cross and St John Ambulance, the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, and the Suffolk Agricultural Association.

Through the years, he served on the East Anglian Daily Times board, the Eastern Counties newspapers board, and for a number of years was non-executive vice-chairman of the group board.

In his final decade he returned to equestrian interests with a 40-horse livery stable on the farm and he built several cross-country courses for horse trials and eventing.

He leaves a widow, Jeannine, two children, son Ivan and daughter Clarissa, five grandchildren, Fiona, Amanda, James, Hannah and Lewis, and five great-grandchildren, Katie, Nicholas, William, Olivia and Thomas.

There will be an opportunity for friends and colleagues to meet and celebrate his life at the Event Centre at Trinity Park (Suffolk Showground), Ipswich, on Friday, October 26, 2007, at 3pm.

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