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Mervyn Dane: Gentleman newspaper editor who inspired a generation of reporters


Published 20/08/2016

Mervyn Dane, the former editor of the Impartial Reporter, has died aged 87
Mervyn Dane, the former editor of the Impartial Reporter, has died aged 87

Mervyn Dane, the former editor of Fermanagh newspaper the Impartial Reporter, has died aged 87.

Known for being an all-rounder and someone who could tell a story superbly, Mr Dane's funeral service took place at St Macartin's Cathedral in Enniskillen on Thursday and was conducted by the Rev Olivia Downey.

The burial took place at Sydare Cemetery, Irvinestown.

He is remembered as the red-headed cub reporter who began his career as a journalist at 16 years old just after VE Day in 1945, and the father figure and mentor whose sound principles of news gathering and reporting the facts inspired the many young journalists he took under his wing.

Mr Dane received his education at Fermanagh Technical College, then spent two years at the Fermanagh Times before joining the Impartial Reporter, where he would work for 47 years.

His varied life in journalism ranged from politics to farming, and courts to human interest stories, with reports from visits to the Gulf to meet local soldiers to features on hill walking - one of his many passions.

The period during the Troubles was often a difficult time for him as he was personally very moved by the many stories he had to cover in a community he knew so well.

In addition to his newspaper work of writing and often taking photographs, Mr Dane was also a local correspondent for the BBC, filing copy, taking film footage for television news and also commenting on local affairs on the radio.

During his work at the Impartial Reporter, Mr Dane worked with three generations of the Trimble family, who founded the newspaper - firstly, Egbert Trimble, then his daughter, Joan, and latterly with her daughter, Joanna McVey.

He succeeded Jimmy Baker as editor in 1975 and was succeeded by Denzil McDaniel in 1987, but he continued to work for the newspaper until his eventual retirement in 1994.

At his funeral, Mr McDaniel paid tribute to his great friend, telling the large congregation that Mr Dane "was the journalist's journalist." Before the funeral service, Impartial Reporter staff past and present formed a guard of honour outside the newspaper's office as the funeral cortege made its way through the streets of Enniskillen - a route that Mervyn would have taken so often throughout his career in the media.

Mr Dane, who was made an MBE in 2003 for services to journalism, lived at Drumclay Road in Enniskillen, and is survived by his wife, Betty, a son, Tommy and three daughters, Noelle Ralph, Caroline Campbell and Lily Nixon and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Lily has carried on the family tradition of journalism on the Impartial Reporter.

Described as a legend in the Press, Mr Dane's legacy lives on through the pages of the Impartial Reporter - a newspaper that he loved deeply, every single week.

Belfast Telegraph

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