Former newspaper executive from Bradford on Avon dies aged 83

A FORMER managing director of the Wiltshire Times has died in hospital aged 83.

Philip Harris of Bradford on Avon, was Managing Director of the Wiltshire Times and Chippenham News between 1983 and 1986 when he moved to the then Bath Evening Chronicle as Chief Executive and Managing Director.

He later took over management of the Bridgewater Mercury and Somerset Standard – all part of the Westminster Press Group of Regional Newspapers of which Mr. Harris was a main-board director.

He died in the Royal United Hospital, Bath, on Saturday May 2.

Mr Harris was born in West Ham in 1936 but was evacuated to Wymington, Bedfordshire, during the Second World War.

He was educated in Bedfordshire and, on leaving school, joined the Parachute Regiment. He saw action in Suez and in Cyprus and took part in the 3 PARA parachute assault on El Gamil airfield in the Suez conflict.

On leaving the Army in the 1960s he joined Westminster Press. He worked first at Uxbridge before moving to the Bedford County Press in 1968 where he oversaw the installation and commission of a new, full colour, web-offset press – in the process becoming the youngest web offset manager in Europe.

In 1977 he became chief executive and managing director of the Gravesend and Dartford Reporter and after another spell at Uxbridge he moved to the Wiltshire Times in Trowbridge in 1983.

Mr Harris was also responsible for launching the Bath Evening Chronicle Business Breakfast and also founded The Captains’ Club for business leaders in Bath.

On retiring from the newspaper industry in 1994, Mr. Harris embarked on a new career in health service management in Bristol before retiring in 2011.

He was a keen sports supporter and was a member of The Guards Polo Club, Cirencester Polo Club and The Leander Club at Henley.

Mr. Harris, who had lived in Bradford on Avon with his wife, Esther, since 1984 also leaves two children by a previous marriage and six grandchildren. A private funeral is due to be held later this month at Bristol Memorial Woodland.

This is Wiltshire

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