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Wednesday, June 10, 1998 Published at 20:30 GMT 21:30 UK


Newspaper chief English dies

Sir David English - regarded as the best journalist of his generation

Sir David English, the head of Associated Newspapers, has died. He suffered a severe stroke and died at St Thomas's Hospital, London, after being admitted on Tuesday.

Sir David, who was 67, was chairman and group editor-in-chief of the group, which owns The Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and other regional titles.

[ image: Sir David perfected the Daily Mail]
Sir David perfected the Daily Mail
He was a devoted husband and father. His children, Nikki Smith, Amanda Christmas and Neil English, had kept a vigil at his bedside during the day. His wife, Lady Irene English, was unable to be with him owing to her own serious illness.

Sir David has been hailed as the greatest newspaper editor of his generation and is credited with reinventing The Daily Mail.

In his later role as an elder statesman of the industry, he was entrusted in drawing up a new code of practice following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Career sketch

Sir David began his Fleet Street career in 1951, joining The Daily Mirror before moving to The Daily Sketch where he became features editor.

It was the Sketch which brought him his first editorship, from 1969 to 1971.

That year he moved to take over the top job at the Mail, where he was to remain for more than 20 years.

He transformed it from a struggling rival selling two million copies fewer than The Daily Express to a formidable journalistic powerhouse, which soared dramatically in popularity.

Under Sir David it became compulsory reading for the middle classes and politicians.

After 20 years perfecting the Mail he became editor-in-chief and chairman of Associated Newspapers in 1992.


Tributes have poured in praising the professionalism of Sir David.

Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre paid tribute to his boss as "the greatest journalist of his generation."

Prime Minister Tony Blair was "shocked and saddened" by news, his spokesman said.

The prime minister said: "I counted David English as a friend. He was a truly outstanding journalist. He never lost his love and enthusiasm for his chosen profession and never lost his eye for a good story."

[ image: Sir David became group chairman in 1992]
Sir David became group chairman in 1992
Mr Blair's spokesman said Buckingham Palace had given its permission to No 10 in advance of the public announcement of the birthday honours on Saturday to announce that David English was to be made a life peer.

Lord Rothermere, chairman of The Daily Mail and General Trust, said: "I knew David English as a journalist and close friend as we had worked together for over 30 years.

"He was simply the best of his generation and the most able and talented editor that I and Fleet Street have known."

Tory leader William Hague said: "David English was one of the great editors of The Daily Mail. "He gave me great encouragement to enter politics and always remained in touch."

Among others paying tribute to Sir David ranged from former Sun editor, Kelvin MacKenzie and the tabloid's current editor David Yelland to Lord Hollick, chief executive of United News & Media, Charles Moore, editor of The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger.

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