FORMER Newbury Weekly News editor Laurence (Lou) Cummins died 10 years ago today, aged 60. Mr Cummins served as the paper’s editor for 18 years after taking up the post in 1978.
He was well-known for his robust defence of the paper’s editorial independence and, during his editorship, he revitalised the diary feature, then known as ‘Local Chit Chat’ and which dated back to 1889, as informed commentary on local affairs from the sidelines. He created the persona of Wynchcombe in a column that playfully nipped the ankles of the great and the good in Newbury society.
Mr Cummins oversaw the expansion from a single title to a publications group, which included The Advertiser, Newbury Business Review (now Newbury Business Today), Out & About and Newbury Property News (now Newbury Home Search).
He was also heavily involved in the company’s progress into new electronic technology in the late 1980s, which resulted in the NWN being one of the leaders in the provincial industry in establishing an electronic newsroom.
The flagship Newbury Weekly News developed a broader news coverage during his editorship, outside contributors were encouraged and readers’ letters elevated to a new prominence.
After leaving the newspaper company, Mr Cummins was appointed director of the Oxfordshire Association for the Blind, a post he held until ill-health forced early retirement. He died after a long battle with cancer.
He is survived by his widow Frankie, a well-known local artist, daughter Samantha and son Toby.