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A good old-fashioned hack: Tributes as Belfast Telegraph journalist and author Chris Ryder dies at 73

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Much missed: NI journalist Chris Ryder

Much missed: NI journalist Chris Ryder

Chris Ryder and his wife Genny at the launch of his book The Fateful Split

Chris Ryder and his wife Genny at the launch of his book The Fateful Split

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Much missed: NI journalist Chris Ryder

Tributes have been paid to former Belfast Telegraph journalist and author Chris Ryder, who has died aged 73.

It's understood he had been ill for some time, and was being cared for in the Northern Ireland Hospice.

In a long and distinguished career, Mr Ryder had also worked for national UK titles, including the Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph.

His wife Genny broke the news on social media.

Posting on her husband's Twitter account, she wrote: "I'm sad to tell you Chris died last night, peacefully and pain free after a short illness.

"He was looked after with exemplary care at the NI Hospice. Cremation will be private."

Mr Ryder lived in Carryduff and was the author of books on the RUC, the UDR and the NI Prison Service.

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Senior journalists paid tribute to their former colleague.

Former Press Association Ireland Editor Deric Henderson told the Belfast Telegraph: "Chris was a great journalist.

"He was here from the start of the Troubles.

"He was very diligent, very well-regarded - a good old-fashioned hack, always on the lookout for a story.

"Chris was old school - a Fleet Street man to his fingertips."

Belfast Telegraph Editor-at-Large Gail Walker paid tribute, saying: "Northern Ireland has lost one of its finest journalists.

"Even when ill, Chris wrote important, courageous and sparkling copy for the Belfast Telegraph." Columnist Malachi O'Doherty said he had been saddened by news of Mr Ryder's death.

"I worked alongside Chris in 1972, first when he would bring a barrel of beer from the Ulster Brewery to our staff party at the Sunday News, and later when he was freelancing," Mr O'Doherty recalled.

UTV political editor Ken Reid described Mr Ryder as a "major figure in Irish journalism" while Nicholas Watt, political editor of BBC Newsnight, said: "Chris Ryder was one of Northern Ireland's most remarkable journalists with an exceptional understanding of politics and security.

"Chris was very generous with his time when I pitched up at the age of 26 towards the end of the Troubles."

Victims campaigner Ann Travers said: "Chris was an absolute gent, and so wise.

"He showed kindness to me at a time when I found life very tough."

The late newsman, who served as a member of the Police Authority between 1994 and 1996, wrote several books on the history of the security forces in Northern Ireland, including The RUC 1922-2000: A Force Under Fire, as well as The Fateful Split: Catholics and the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

Mr Ryder also penned The Ulster Defence Regiment: An Instrument of Peace, and - with another former Belfast Telegraph journalist, Vincent Kearney - wrote Drumcree: the Orange Order's Last Stand.

Mr Kearney said Chris Ryder was "fantastic company" and "would be very sadly missed".


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