TRIBUTES have been paid to a stalwart of the newspaper industry in York who has died aged 76.

Barry Sellers, joined the then Evening Press back in 1971, as a "class two" worker in the dispatch room in York, retiring 35 years later in 2006, with colleagues saying at the time he was "the best guy they've ever worked with".

York Press: Barry Sellers says farewell to The Press after 35 years serviceBarry Sellers says farewell to The Press after 35 years service (Image: Frank Dwyer)

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Barry, who lived in Stockton on the Forest, died on Friday (July 28) just four days after celebrating his 76th birthday. He was on a river cruise through Switzerland and Germany with his wife, Elaine, and they were in Frankfurt Airport when Barry suddenly became unwell and died.

"He was out of breath, which wasn't like him," said Elaine.

"I asked him if he was in pain and he said he was alright, he sat down and that was it. It's some comfort that it was instantaneous."

Two doctors who came to his aid said they thought it was a heart attack, but the family has yet to have official confirmation.

Bill Hearld, a former deputy editor of The Press, worked with Barry for many years and paid tribute to his character and work ethic.

He said: “Barry was a great colleague and a larger-than-life character. He was always cheerful and enjoyed a laugh - and a pint.

“He believed in the paper and nobody worked harder to promote it, always pitching in with a passion. He will be sadly missed.”

Former chief reporter Mike Laycock said: "Barry was a good colleague of mine at the paper for many years - someone with a good sense of humour and good to chat to.

“He was also a good contact, who knew what was going on in the York community and would regularly call me with a tip off on a story.

“This carried on after he retired. I’d regularly get an email from Barry, often about things happening in his village, Stockton on the Forest, right up until I retired earlier this year.

“I’d like to extend my condolences to Barry’s family, to whom this must have come as a shattering shock.”

Barry was born in Sawley near Nottingham, the only child of Fred and Dot Sellers and came to live in Stockton on Forest when the family moved to the village when he was about three.

He went to Nunthorpe School and met Elaine in 1971 at the Cat's Whiskers nightclub which was at one time on the site of the old Mecca Bingo in Fishergate. They married on August 31 1974 and have lived in Upper St Paul's Terrace in Holgate and Osbaldwick as well as Stockton on Forest.

The couple have two sons, Paul and Mark, three grandchildren, Megan, Hannah and Benji and two step granddaughters, Chloe and Olivia.

Paul said: "You couldn't go anywhere without my dad meeting somebody he knew. You could be the other end of the country or half way across the world and he'd bump into somebody who knew him.

"I for one will certainly miss him now and forever, he was massive in my life and will remember every moment from bollockings to our breakfasts, from rugby to our holidays away I will treasure every single moment.

"He was just proper and traditional, and he wasn't happy if he wasn't saving 50p on a bill - he used to say "come on, I'm a pensioner!"

In his spare time Barry loved playing cricket and watching rugby - he was a York Knights season ticket holder. In his younger days he played football and latterly took up golf. He also loved dominoes, playing fives and threes at Huntington.

York Press: Cricket legend Barry Sellers with his Stockton and Hopgrove batting trophyCricket legend Barry Sellers with his Stockton and Hopgrove batting trophy (Image: Newsquest)

Elaine said: "Barry was a perfect husband, dad and grandad, a real larger than life character.

"He was a man's man and loved his sports and he loved his work.

"He worked for 35 years and didn't have a day off sick. He loved his holidays, especially cruises, and he was on booking his next.

"He was a thinking person, he wasn't very practical, unless it was to do with a cricket bat, golf clubs or a pint. 

"What memories. God bless you sweetheart."

Elaine went on to say: "I'd like to thank everybody for the help we have had as a family since Barry's death. The support has been phenomenal, from the tour operator Tui, to the two doctors who came to help, to the people at Frankfurt Airport, I can't thank everybody enough."

The family has yet to make arrangements for Barry's funeral, but we will run a further story when details are available.