A FOUNDING editor of a local newspaper and a born and bred Harrovian has died from Bowel Cancer.
A journalist for over 40 years and the President of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, Charlie Harris died peacefully on Saturday, January 4, aged 60.
He had been suffering from advanced bowel and liver cancer and had been admitted to St Luke's Hospice in Kenton just after Christmas.
A statement on the Chartered Institute of Journalists website said: “His death is a great loss to the Institute.”
Born and educated in Harrow at Salvatorian College in High Road, Harrow he remained in Harrow throughout his life and was the founding editor of the Harrow Times, part of the Newsquest Group.
He began his journalistic career in the 1970s with traditional training on the Palmers Green and Southgate Gazette, later becoming chief reporter of the Enfield Gazette and subsequently the editor of the free Harrow Wembley Independent before going to the Borehamwood Times (then called the Post).
A former colleague of Mr Harris's, journalist Bill Montgomery said: "I have happy memories of working in Harrow for him. He had the ability of not taking himself or other people too seriously, great gifts when dealing with a council as humourless as Harrow or a management which made clear that hanging on to the council advertising was the priority."
Mr Harris moved to High Wycombe as deputy editor of The Star, returning later to Hendon as editorial manager.
When the Hendon Times group was acquired by Newsquest and created the Harrow Times, Mr Harris took the editor role. was the natural choice as its editor.
Harrow Councillor James Bond for Headstone North, (Independent) and close friend and former reporter for the Harrow Times, paid tribute to Mr Harris's campaigning journalism.
Councillor Bond said: “Ten years ago he made an editorial decision as Times editor to oppose a twenty per cent rise in council tax that was being proposed by the council. Charlie backed the Harrow Council Tax Campaign, a pressure group set up to oppose the draconian increase. Following his paper’s backing the petition collected more than 25,000 signatures and the council found themselves 'on the back foot' and partially caved in over such an increase.”
For many years he was the Chartered Institutes's representative on the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).
Earlier this year he was elected president of the Chartered Institute – for the second time, having first served as its leader in 1991 to 1992.
Chief executive of the NCTJ, Joanne Butcher said: “Charlie was committed to professional journalism training and editorial standards and is a great loss to journalism and journalism training. He was a stalwart of the NCTJ and he will be very much missed by me and my team who knew him and appreciated his loyalty, kindness and good humour.”
Mr Harris became poorly during the summer months and by October 2013 was severely ill. He was admitted to the St Luke's Hospice on Boxing Day and died there at 8.50pm on Saturday, January 4.
His funeral will take place on Tuesday, January 14, at the Roman Catholic Church of St Matthew Hallowell Road, Northwood.
It was Charlie’s wish that donations be made to St Luke's Hospice rather than flowers and his family have set up a JustGiving page here: www.justgiving.com/CharlieHarris