Thursday, 28 January 2016

Robin Crowther: An inspiration in the subs room

Robin in classic pose (Northern Echo)

I was saddened and a little shocked to be told today that my old Northern Echo colleague Robin Crowther has died. When I shipped up as a trainee sub on the Echo in the late 70s, Robin was one of the senior hands who took me under his wing. He helped teach me the craft and he had a real flair for headlines. More than that though, he was an inspiration who made the night-shift fun. He would often join the younger subs for a drink in the Red Lion at break or the Flamingo after the shift and entertain us with his seemingly endless list of stories. He had just returned from South Africa where he had worked for 11 years as a reporter and editor - and his experiences provided a rich vein of anecdotes. Apart from helping my subbing skills, Robin also improved me massively as a squash player. He was an excellent player. When we finished our shifts at the Echo at 12.30am we would often take a hold-all full of beer up to the squash club (where he had a key) and play games with other colleagues, including sports editor Jeff Todhunter, until 4am. He was much older and less fit than me but I never beat him. Nobody dominated the T quite like Robin. We would then sit around in the changing rooms drinking beer as Robin held court, before heading home as the sun was coming up. He left the Echo in the early 80s to become a journalism lecturer at Darlington College where he trained, inspired and entertained thousands of young journalists, including the Echo's editor Peter Barron. Robin died this week, two months after the death of his wife Barbara. RIP old chap ... it was a privilege.

Here's a link to the Echo's article.

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