FORMER Swindon Evening Advertiser chief sub-editor Harry Walton, who had a six-decade career as a journalist, has died just two years short of his centenary.

When Harry arrived at the paper in 1970 he already had more than 30 years in the trade under his belt.

He stayed until his official retirement in the mid-1980s having held several senior posts, including chief production editor.

Harry started his career when he joined the County Express in Stourbridge as a junior reporter in 1936.

He went on to become a reporter and editor with the Oldbury Weekly News five years later and then joined the staff of the Surrey Times in Guildford as a reporter.

A spell as a district reporter in Wellingborough at the Northampton Chronicle and Echo eventually led to him becoming a sub-editor, responsible for putting reporter’s stories on pages and checking their copy.

In 1945 he moved to the Wolverhampton Express and Star, a major regional daily newspaper and two years later he was made deputy chief sub, also acting as chief sub until 1960 when he moved down to Devon to take on the same role at the Exeter Express and Echo.

It was from there that he joined the staff of the Advertiser.

During his time in Swindon the paper covered major stories including the Biafran crisis as well as significant local news events such as the demolition of the market, the construction of the David Murray John Tower and the opening of the Wyvern Theatre.

Even after he retired from daily newspapers Harry carried on his work with the National Council for the Training of Journalists, marking exam papers for the next generation of journalists.

It was only when he reached the age of 84 that he decided to put away his blue pencil for the last time, although the NCTJ was keen for him to carry on.

Over the years his family, wife Mary and sons Harry and Nick, moved up and down the country with him.

He died on November 6 at a care home in Weymouth where his grandson Neil, a third generation journalist, is a senior sports reporter with the Dorset Echo.

Following a cremation his ashes were taken to Pershore, Worcestershire where they were interred in Mary’s grave.