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Death of journalist and parish councillor Don Wilkinson
2:02pm Wednesday 26th September 2012 in News
A LONG-SERVING and popular local journalist and parish councillor has died at the age of 88.
Don Wilkinson, of Westow, started his career at Gazette publisher York & County Press in 1939 and remained with the company until he retired in April 1988.
Mr Wilkinson started as a young trainee reporter on the Evening Press but the outbreak of the Second World War saw him serve in the Royal Navy, before returning as a sub-editor on the weekly Yorkshire Herald, the Gazette’s forerunner.
His career then took him to the position of chief sub-editor in 1954 before his return to the Evening Press, where he worked his way to the deputy editor’s position at the Coney Street offices in York.
Press photographer Garry Atkinson, who has been with the paper since 1974, was interviewed for his job by Mr Wilkinson and remembers him as a popular “uncle figure”.
He said: “He was an extremely friendly man – firm but fair. He was genuinely admired by all the staff, which isn’t an easy thing to achieve when you are a man in authority.
“He was always referred to as an avuncular figure.”
Mr Wilkinson spent time serving as a member of the parish council in his home village of Westow.
Mr Wilkinson married his late wife, Kate, in 1948 and the couple had two children, Anne and Christopher. However, their son was tragically killed in a road accident at the age of 17.
Remembering her father, Anne Caley, 63, said: “His garden was his main love. Even when he lost his eyesight he still kept going. He also had two grandsons of whom he was very proud.
“He died at home on September 20 after being ill for a short while.”
Mr Wilkinson’s funeral will take place at 2pm on Tuesday, October 2, at St Mary’s Church, Westow.