Obituary: Newsman was active in launch of publications

Eric Blott

Eric Blott

First published in News

A FORMER Oxford Mail reporter and National Union of Journalists (NUJ) deputy general secretary has died aged 85.

Eric Blott, who worked as a reporter in Oxfordshire in the late 1950s and early 1960s, helped launch the Wallingford Herald in 1961, a spin-off from the North Berks Herald.

The paper previously only had a single Wallingford page and launched the Herald in reaction to its popularity. It was followed in 1963 with the absorbtion of the Wallingford News.

After leaving the Herald, Mr Blott followed a career in the NUJ, becoming its northern organiser, covering an area from Birmingham to the Shetlands, later becoming national organiser and finally deputy general secretary.

After leaving the NUJ in the late 1970s, he became personnel manager for the Liverpool Post, before moving to take a similar position with TV Times in London. He also worked, part time with the Commonwealth Press Union Journal until retiring in 2002.

Eric Blott was born in Mitcham, Surrey, on June 27, 1928. He went to Biggleswade Secondary School and left at 14 to work at Wells & Winch Brewery, before joining a printing company in the town.

He originally worked with the accounts ledgers, but his knowledge of sport and current affairs earmarked him for the newsroom, becoming a reporter, first for the Biggleswade Chronicle, moving up to become sports editor, then deputy editor.

He married Doreen (nee Manley) in 1948. They went on to have three sons, Steve, 65, Tony, 60 and Tim 58. His wife predeceased him in 2008.

In the late 1950s he moved to the Oxford Mail, which had absorbed the North Berks Herald series, to become the district reporter for Wallingford.

His son, Tim, was to become editor-in-chief of the Oxford Mail and its associate titles, from 1994 to 1996. He is still a managing director within the paper’s parent company, Newsquest.

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While working in Wallingford, Mr Blott lived in Cholsey, playing cricket for Wallingford Cricket Club.

In the early 1990s he and his wife moved to Great Gransden, Cambridgeshire. They were active members of the village and Mr Blott became parish council chairman and governor of a nearby school. He was also a member of the Gransdens Society, serving as its chairman and vice-chairman for a number of years.

Eric Blott died on Wednesday, June 11, following a suspected heart attack after a successful game of carpet bowls in the Great Gransden village hall.

He is survived by his three sons, and grandchildren Jason, Melanie and George.

A funeral will be held in Great Gransden Parish Church on Thursday, June 26.

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