Tributes paid to 'principled and passionate newspaper man' George

From right, George Brittain, pictured with Joy Yates, former Durham and England cricketer Geoff Cook and his wife Judith at the recent Best of South Tyneside Awards.
From right, George Brittain, pictured with Joy Yates, former Durham and England cricketer Geoff Cook and his wife Judith at the recent Best of South Tyneside Awards.

Tributes have been paid to a 'principled and passionate newspaper man' after his death.

George Brittain - who was publishing director for Johnston Press's North East titles - including Northumberland Gazette, Berwick Advertiser, Morpeth Herald, News Post Leader and News Guardian - has died aged 52, after suffering a stroke.

Colleagues have led tributes to George, who had spent the past 10 years with Johnston Press (JP), working in a variety of roles based in Portsmouth, Sheffield and Sunderland.

He had been in his current job since November 2016, and was responsible for JP titles in the North East, Yorkshire, the North West, Northern Ireland and its Scottish weeklies.

Joy Yates, North East editorial director, said: "George was respected by all who worked with him. He was insightful and passionate about his publishing role. He was also a huge support to his colleagues.

"George, who was born in Stockton, had moved back to Sunderland earlier this year and was a major support to the North East teams, attending awards evenings and business group meetings. He will be a huge miss to the business and to all who knew him."

JP chief executive Ashley Highfield said: "Those fortunate enough to have worked closely with George, like myself, can tell you that he was a tenacious, principled, hard-working and a passionate newspaper man, respected and liked by colleagues and suppliers alike – and that he will be very much missed."

George joined JP in February 2005, and spent almost three years as divisional newspaper sales director for its Northeast Press division, based in Sunderland.

He then moved to work as general manager of The News, in Portsmouth, before becoming group logistics director at Sheffield in October 2009.

In April 2015, his role changed to that of print and logistics director, which saw George assume full responsibility for all JP print operations in Portsmouth, Dinnington and Northern Ireland.

George enjoyed spending time with his much-loved daughters Rachael, 21, and Hannah, 18. He was also a huge rugby and cricket fan and had supported Sheffield Tigers RUFC since his early 20s.

The club held a minute's silence at their match last weekend.

His funeral is on Friday, October 27, at 2.45pm at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium, Sheffield, then afterwards at Sheffield Tigers RUFC.