A FORMER chief sub editor of The Press has died suddenly in hospital, aged 80.

Former colleagues have paid tribute to Alan Potter, describing him as an honest professional, and a man of integrity and wisdom.

Mr Potter, who leaves a wife Ann, three daughters, Barbara, Ruth and Rebecca, and grandchildren, joined the then Yorkshire Evening Press from Archbishop Holgate's School in York.

He left to work in public relations at Rowntrees before moving to The Yorkshire Post in Leeds and then returning to this newspaper's old Coney Street offices and then Walmgate. He retired in the 1990s as production editor.

A lifelong bird watcher and member of the RSPB, his love of the countryside was reflected in his membership of The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

Last summer, he and his wife moved from York to Scarborough to be with family. It was there, he was taken ill with pneumonia and died 10 days later with heart failure in Scarborough Hospital.

Former editor of the Yorkshire Evening Press, David Nicholson, said: "Alan was one of the first to welcome me to York when I joined the Press in 1993.

"He was at the heart of the engine room of the paper, and guided his team with great care, professionalism and a liberal dose of wonderful good humour.

"He was what every editor needs in a chief sub – an outstanding journalist with a real eye for detail, a love of the city and deep knowledge of the place, and the ability to make convoluted and difficult difficult stories easy and enjoyable to read – all done with great style, dedication and that wonderful smile of his, usually accompanied with a dry and witty remark.

"In an industry that is full of loud, brash, confrontational individuals, Alan stood out as a true gentleman, and gentle man too. If he spotted something that needed putting right, he would approach quietly and ask, 'Do you think we should do it this way...' or, 'Have you considered this approach...' I quickly learnt to say yes to him before he even asked! It takes a wise old hand to train his editor that well.

"He had endless patience, especially with junior members of staff who needed encouragement and guidance. The careers of many reporters and sub-editors have benefited hugely from Alan's advice and we all owe this charming man a huge debt.”

John Richardson, a former news editor, said: "Alan was a brilliant craftsman. He was an honest professional, a pleasure to work with and a delight to know as both a colleague and friend of more than 50 years. An uncomplicated, decent man doing a complicated and exacting job."

Robert Beaumont, a former chief features writer, said: “Alan was a man of integrity and wisdom, a very accomplished sub-editor who was extremely modest about his talents and very generous with his knowledge.

"He also had a very dry and engaging sense of humour. Overall, in the 20 years whilst I was at the Yorkshire Evening Press, he was comfortably one of the finest all-round journalists that I worked with.”

*Mr Potter's funeral is at 2pm on Friday June 19 at Woodlands Crematorium in Woodlands Drive, Scarborough.