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19 April 2022

Former Newspaper Society President Sir Ray Tindle Dies Aged 95

Former Newspaper Society president Sir Ray Tindle, the founder of Tindle Newspapers, has died aged 95.

Sir Ray was president of the Newspaper Society - which became the News Media Association when the NS merged with the Newspaper Publishers’ Association in 2014 - in 1971, and was its honorary treasurer for 14 years.

Sir Ray was also on the staff of the NS in the 1950s and had been associated with the industry’s trade organisation since 1947. Later in his career, Sir Ray's generous donation enabled the NS to create Local Business Accelerators, a highly successful campaign demonstrating the power of local newspaper advertising to boost local businesses.

He was closely involved with the organisation for many years, providing advice and counsel to publishers throughout his long career in newspapers. 

NMA chief executive Owen Meredith said: “Sir Ray was a titan of the newspaper sector and a remarkable man. He worked tirelessly to promote local newspapers and his achievements speak for themselves.

“His advice, experience and counsel will be sorely missed by many right across the industry.”

In 1973 Sir Ray was appointed OBE for services to the newspaper industry and in 1987 he was appointed CBE. In 1989 he became a Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Surrey. He was knighted in 1994.

He was named Newspaper Personality of the Year at the 2005 Newspaper Awards and in the same year he was made an honorary vice-president of the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain.

He is survived by his wife, Lady Tindle, his son Owen and granddaughter Maisy.

Sir Ray began his career in publishing by running a newspaper on the troop ship taking him to the Far East. After returning to this country Sir Ray acquired his first newspaper title, the Tooting & Balham Gazette, with his £300 demob payment.

It was to be the first of many and in the coming years, through a series of launches and acquisitions, the group, under the collective banner of Tindle Newspapers Ltd, now owns local papers and radio stations covering large parts of Wales, Surrey, Hampshire, Essex, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Ireland, the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man.

Many of these papers are very long established, including the Monmouthshire Beacon founded in 1837.

Sir Ray retired as chairman of the Surrey Advertiser in 1977 after 35 years and also as a director for 18 years on the main board of The Guardian & Manchester Evening News. He was chairman for ten years of the Belfast News Letter. He was a founder shareholder and, for many years, an alternate director, of Capital Radio.

Sir Ray was a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, and a member of the Guild of Editors.

The publisher became Master of the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers in 1985 after some 20 years of service on several committees and of the Court.

He was for seven years or more a trustee of the Educational Charity of the company, which makes many major awards and grants where need is shown and has provided equipment and bursaries to schools.

He was the 1990-91 chairman of the Appeal for the Newspaper Press Fund and was for some years a vice-president of the fund.

He had, over the years, served on an educational committee, a school governing board, a parochial church council and several Rotary charity committees and in 1977 he formed the Farnham Visitors’ Council.

He was the project planning committee chairman for five years before, during and after the initial construction of the University of Surrey.

He was an Honorary Fellow of the Surrey Institute of Art & Design which became the  University for the Creative Arts, a Doctor of Letters at the University of Buckingham and was admitted to the Degree of Doctor at the University of Surrey in 2008.

Born in 1926, Sir Ray was the son of John Robert and Maud Tindle. He was evacuated from London during the war and educated at the Torquay Boys’ Grammar School.

After leaving school he went on to enlist in the 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment, an infantry regiment in the British Army.

He saw service in the Far East between 1944 and 1947, rising to the rank of captain.

Although his overwhelming passion was for newspapers, Sir Ray was also a great aficionado of old cars.

He had a number of such vehicles in his collection and enjoyed a long-running association with the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

He marked his involvement in the 50th run in 2013 as always, driving his faithful single-cylinder Speedwell Dogcart, a 1904 car he bought more than half a century ago to fulfil a childhood dream.

Tindle Family2

Pictured (left to right) Lady Beryl Tindle, Sir Ray Tindle and Owen Tindle. Photo: Gary Cullum.