Ian McWilliam-Fowler obituary

Publié le par The Guardian - Vivien Robins

The Guardianpublished 28/02/2013 at 16:50 GMT by Vivien Robins

My friend Ian McWilliam-Fowler, who has died aged 73, was one of the foremost journalists of his generation in the north-west. As chief crime reporter on the Manchester Evening News, he covered the Moors murders trial in 1966. He had been the first journalist to suggest a link between four young children who went missing from the Manchester area over a 17-month period, who were later identified as victims of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. Later, Ian corresponded with Hindley and even visited her in Durham prison.

Ian McWilliam-Fowler
Ian was born in Bootle, Merseyside, and went to the independent Merchant Taylors' school in Liverpool. After cutting his teeth on local newspapers and a Birmingham news agency, he joined the Manchester Evening News in 1964. He remained there for 14 years, as chief crime reporter and specialist feature writer. In the February 1974 general election he fought a spirited campaign as the Liberal candidate in Manchester Withington, more than doubling his party's vote in the previous election. His fighting instincts were similarly to the fore as a long-serving father of the NUJ chapel (head of the union branch) at the Evening News, where he won significant improvements to members' pay and conditions.

In 1978 Ian moved into management as deputy group personnel manager and group training manager for Guardian and MEN Ltd before going on to found Newsbeat, his own news agency covering the north-west. A job as director of promotion and development for Greater Manchester council came to an end with the looming abolition of the authority in 1986 and he went on to become district public relations manager for the North Manchester health authority – the first full-time PR job in the whole of the north-west health region. This he did with his characteristic flair and application for the next 15 years, along the way picking up prizes for the authority in two "Best of Health" competitions run in successive years by the Sunday Times.

Ian's later years were affected by Parkinson's disease, with which he was diagnosed at the age of 50. Ian never complained and continued to live life to the full despite his decreasing mobility. He was helped by the unstinting support and devotion of his beloved wife Patricia. She survives him, as do his sons, Robert and Jonathan, from his first marriage; and his grandchildren, Rebecca, Luke, Hannah and Kate.

Publié dans Avis de décès

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