Advertiser editor-in-chief Mr Roger Parlby has died
9:32am Mon Aug 04, 2014
The Advertiser's chairman and editor-in-chief, Mr Roger Parlby, died in Lincoln County Hospital on Sunday after a short illness.
Mr Roger Parlby
Mr Roger Parlby
Mr Parlby, 89, joined the paper after leaving Worksop College in 1941 and succeeded his father, Mr Cyril Parlby, as editor in 1967.

Mr Parlby, whose home was in Collingham, was one of the UK’s most eminent regional newspaper proprietors. He was made an MBE by the Queen for services to the newspaper industry.

The birth of Mr Parlby was a late news item. He arrived during a supper break on press night at the Advertiser when his father, Mr Cyril Parlby, was editor.

Mr Roger Parlby joined the Advertiser in December 1941, the day after leaving school.

He worked on the newsdesk for two years before joining the 1st Battalion Royal Lincolnshire Regiment, now part of the Royal Anglian Regiment, as a subaltern in 1943. He fought in Burma and Sumatra, where he was wounded and sent to Singapore’s British General Hospital to recover.

Mr Parlby later served at Lichfield as a member of a court martial board, before returning to Newark as a civilian. He recalled his time in Burma as an officer with great pride.

While he was serving in the Far East Mr Parlby had the Advertiser sent to him. It took many weeks to arrive so he came up with an idea to print a selection of news on the inside of an airmail letter, leaving space on the back for relatives to write their own message.

The smallest editions of the Advertiser, measuring 9in x 6in, were sent to servicemen in the Far East.

It became known as The Indian Miniature Edition with 700 printed each week.

After the war Mr Parlby worked as a sub-editor on the Derby Evening Telegraph. He returned to the Advertiser and succeeded his father as editor in 1967.

He continued in the role until 1984 when he became editor-in-chief.

His work ensured that the Advertiser today is one of the most successful and respected independent regional newspapers in the country.

The Advertiser has always kept up-to-date with technology. The year after Mr Parlby was made editor it became the first newspaper in the country to invest in a web-offset printing press to ensure better photograph reproduction.

The press made colour printing possible and the Advertiser carried full colour in 1968 before most national newspapers.

Mr Parlby met his wife, Cynthia, in 1951 when he reviewed Yeomen of the Guard at the Palace Theatre, Newark, where she was playing the leading lady role, Elsie Maynard. They were married in Newark Parish Church a year later.

For 45 years Mrs Parlby wrote the children’s page as Aunt Isobel until she died in 1999.

Mr Parlby served on the Trent Crime Prevention Panel; was a trustee of Newark Arts and Leisure Foundation, which helps support the arts; and was a trustee of St George’s Military Chapel in Newark Parish Church.

He started a parish magazine, Fleet, in January 1964 for the Collingham area. The publication continues today.

Mr Parlby was president of the Newark Talking Newspaper for the Blind and a trustee of the Sir Stuart Goodwin Trust, an organisation that helps the elderly in Newark, and a founder director of Radio Trent for seven years.

He was part of a small group, Friends of the Palace, responsible for the refurbishment of the Palace Theatre in the 1970s. He also chaired a fundraising support group in the town for the newly-launched Lincoln University.

Mr Parlby chaired a civic awards committee concerned with the conservation and refurbishment of Newark buildings.

In 1998 he served as president of Newark and Nottinghamshire Agricultural Show and in 2004 he was cloathed as a liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers.

Mr Parlby was appointed MBE in the 2005 New Year Honours list and was invited to Buckingham Palace to receive the award from the Queen.

In the same year, he published his memoirs, Moments as Big as Years, which he dedicated to his grandson, William Parlby Neale, who died in November, aged 15.

His elder daughter, Miss Joanna Parlby, managing director of the Advertiser, said: “I speak with pride when I say that not many can say their father has played an active part in newspapers for 70 years, and that his service to the industry was recognised when he was appointed MBE in 2005.

“My father was a family man, generous of spirit and had a dry sense of humour that will be remembered by many.

“He was one of Newark’s great characters and with him goes a little part of the town’s history.

“As my father followed in his father’s footsteps, so will I, and I will be extremely proud to represent the Advertiser’s fourth generation.”

Mr Parlby’s younger daughter, Mrs Susanna Parlby, said: “If I had to find words to describe my father, they would be proud, kind, generous, supportive and, on top of that, you could always rely on him in a real crisis.

“As a figurehead of our family he will be sorely missed. Luckily he was always able to live life to the full with an adventurous spirit.”

A funeral service will be held in Newark Parish Church on August 18 at 2.30pm.


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