Brian Dixon, Fleet Street and broadcasting veteran, dies
18 June 2013
Journalistic colleagues were among the impressive turnout for the funeral of Arthur Brian Dixon (known to everyone as Brian), former Fleet Street and television journalist, who has died aged 76.
A stirring tribute to his journalistic career was paid by Lt. Col. Nick Doyle, reflecting the fact that when Brian was called up for National Service in the 1950s, he signed on for an extra year and joined the Parachute Regiment.
At the funeral in Nottinghamshire, Col. Doyle recalled that Brian's illustrious career started in 1953, while he was still at school, with humble beginnings at the Gateshead Post. He would spend every Saturday and school holiday as the newsroom runner and tea boy.
The colonel said:
"But he clearly impressed, and when he left school, he was taken on full time."
During his career break for military service, he saw action in 1956, parachuting into Egypt during the Suez Canal crisis, which remains the last Parachute Regiment operational jump to this day. When he turned 60, he did a last parachute jump, with his son Luke, who had become an Army officer.
After his time in the Army, Brian returned to the Gateshead Post, then moved to the Newcastle Evening Chronicle. In 1961, when he was 26, he moved to London to work on the Daily Sketch, until 1969.
During this period, he covered the infamous Biafran War in Nigeria. Col. Doyle said:
"His groundbreaking articles raised awareness of the horrors of the famine which followed."
Among the other major stories he covered for the Sketch were the Great Train Robbery and Manchester United's 1968 European Cup Final victory at Wembley.
From the Sketch, Brian moved to work for the Daily Mail in Birmingham, before landing the job that would define him as a journalist… his 17 years on The Sun. Predominately a crime reporter, he covered a wide variety of stories, including the trials of the Yorkshire Ripper and the Black Panther.
He also reported on the miners' strike of the 60s and Northern Ireland. Barely a week would pass without a front page by-line.
In 1988, Brian left The Sun, after a falling out with the paper on what Col. Doyle described as "moral grounds". After a short spell of freelancing as Trent Valley News, Brian joined the then Central Television (now Carlton) in Nottingham, and worked on the station's crime reports for almost a decade.
He retired in 2001 and became an enthusiastic world traveller, particularly with two long-standing friends, Frank Palmer, who worked for the Mirror, and Chris Throup, who had been news editor at BBC Radio Nottingham.
He spent his later years in a losing battle with dementia, and finally had to leave his home in Sutton-on-Trent, Notts, for care in a nursing home in nearby Boughton, for the last few years of his life.
He died on 3 June 2013 in Bassetlaw Hospital with his daughter Sally by his side.