Former Guardian editor Peter Preston dies

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Peter Preston, the former editor of The Guardian newspaper, has died at the age of 79.

He joined the Guardian in 1963, was editor between 1975 and 1995 and later went on to be a columnist for the Guardian and Observer.

He died at home on Saturday night 10 years after melanoma first struck and 20 months after it returned.
File photo dated 22/10/2012 of Peter Preston, former Editor of the Guardian, who has died at the age of 79.

His son Ben, writing in The Sunday Times, said: “Dad died a good death, one that amplified the qualities we so admired while he lived.

“Resilience, bravery, wisdom, he was loved and loving until the end. The fulcrum of our family.”

Janice Turner, a columnist and feature writer for The Times, tweeted that her “beloved father-in-law” was a “journalist to the last and the most upstanding man I’ve ever known”.

The G2 supplement was launched during his leadership of The Guardian, he oversaw the redesign of the newspaper and helped it contend with the launch of a new rival at The Independent and a brutal price war.

His last column on press and broadcasting was published on New Year’s Eve.

Preston had polio as a child, an illness that his father had died from.

The Leicestershire-born writer went to Oxford University where he edited the Cherwell, the student newspaper.

He became a trainee at the Liverpool Daily Post before moving on to the Manchester Guardian in 1963.

Successful spells as a reporter, foreign correspondent, features editor and night editor helped lay the path for him to take on the editorship in 1975 at the age of 37.

Katharine Viner, the editor-in-chief of the Guardian and Observer, described him as a “brilliant editor” adding: “Peter has been a kind and unobtrusively supportive friend, providing advice and insights and the kind of ballast that could only come from someone who’d been there and done it.”

He also penned novels including Bess and 51st State.

He is survived by his wife Jean, whom he married in 1962, twin daughters Alex and Kate, sons Ben and Rupert, three granddaughters and five grandsons.

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