Former chief reporter for The News Les Rothery dies from Covid-19 aged 89

TRIBUTES have been paid to a former chief reporter at The News, who has died from Covid-19.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 2:53 pm

Les Rothery died on January 19 in East Surrey Hospital, age 89.

He worked for The News for 22 years until July 1986, spending many years as both the chief reporter and a motoring correspondent.

A lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers fan, Les’ love of cars and travelling led to a life of adventure, experiencing as much of the world as he could.

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Les Rothery when he was living in Dorking. Picture: Supplied

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Speaking at his funeral, son Kev said: ‘Kind, loving and generous – these are some of the qualities of a decent, admirable person that immediately spring to mind when I think about dad.

‘He was a very talented man who did some amaxing things in his life, and I feel very proud to have called him my father.

‘He was, in so many ways, my hero.’

Born in Wales in 1932, Les moved to Wolverhampton and subsequently Newcastle-under-Lyme, before entering journalism with a credit rating for English Language from school, and a passion for sports.

After spending two years doing national service, his career took off – and he soon rose to the rank of chief reporter at The News.

He was also selected for the role of motoring correspondent, based on his love of cars and as he jokingly put it, because ‘he was the only reporter without a court conviction for speeding or traffic offences’.

When much of his family moved to Tasmania 16 years ago, Les stayed in the UK, moving back to Wales with wife Marjorie, and eventually to Dorking after she died in 2012 – which he nicknamed ‘boring Dorking’ for its lack of notable architecture.

But he stayed in touch with his family, writing letters to granddaughters Abbie and Heather every month.

Kev added: ‘It has been devastating to lose dad to Covid-19

‘I wish I could have been with him at the end, but I am so grateful that my brother Nick and his wife, Laura, were able to rush to be at his side.

‘I look forward to the gathering of friends and family that will be organised in celebration of dad’s life, as soon as it becomes possible.’

Les leaves behind two children, Kev and Nick, and two grandchildren in Abbie and Heather.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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