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Sir Edward Pickering (04:05:1912-08:08:2003)
THERE CAN hardly be a more appropriate place than the journalists’ church of St Bride in the world of Fleet Street, for the last farewell for Sir Edward Pickering. The church with which he was deeply associated will be filled to capacity on Wednesday August 20, when the newspaper industry will pay their last respects to the consummate journalist of his day.
On that day, members of the Guild of St Bride, founded in 1375, where he had been Master for 16 years, will process in their familiar black and brown robes and badges of office once worn regularly by Sir Edward.
Special prayers were said for him in the church on Sunday August 10, just two days after he died peacefully in his sleep in his London home. His widow, Rosemary and one of their sons were present during Eucharist.
By far the ‘elder statesman’ of our country’s national newspaper industry, Sir Edward served on both sides of the fence. He was principally, of course, a journalist, but also had exceptional skills in newspaper management, and it was here, even in his late 80s and just months prior to his death, that he made his mark as executive vice-chairman of Times Newspapers.
“If I had a heyday,” he once told me, “It was during the period I was editor of the Daily Express.” Indeed, this period surely was. In those days, the paper reached its highest-ever circulation of over 4,313,000 copies a day.
During that time, the famous William Hickey diary column was edited by none other than James (Jimmy) Horrocks, another former Guildsman, who died in 1991. Jimmy, who sponsored me for membership of the old Fleet Street Press Club, had many a fascinating story to tell about his editor, whom he simply knew as The Pick.
St Bride’s has a tremendous history in the Christian faith. Today’s restored Wren building is the eight church on the site. Sir Edward Pickering was a most committed and true Christian journalist within this family. He not only created history here in ‘the street’ and its ‘cathedral’ but lived it.
May he rest in peace, and rise in glory.