A distinguished former Northern Echo journalist has died after a short illness.

Trevor Upton, who was production editor until his retirement in 2006, died in Darlington Memorial Hospital earlier today (Thursday, August 22).

The 69-year-old, whose wife Chris was also a journalist with the Echo, lived at Melsonby, near Richmond, North Yorkshire.

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His illustrious career saw him work for The Sun, in London, and The Scotsman, in Edinburgh, as well as on quality regional newspapers including The Northern Echo and The News, Portsmouth.

Born of Royal Navy-serving parents in Wickham, Hampshire, Trevor started work at the age of 17 as a press photographer with the then Portsmouth Evening News.

One of his proudest early assignments was photographing The Beatles when they visited Portsmouth and he would fondly recall how John Lennon came over to talk to him during the assignment.

He also had the distinction of having one of his photographs, titled Child Madonna, exhibited in The Hague.

Despite this early success with a camera, he chose to retrain as a journalist and was offered a job by then Northern Echo editor Don Evans a district reporter in the Echo's Hartlepool office.

It was in Hartlepool, while covering the magistrates' court in 1969, that Trevor met Chris Spaldin, a young reporter with the Hartlepool Mail, who  eventually became his wife.

After working once again for the Portsmouth Evening News in the paper's Isle of Wight office, Trevor took a job as a reporter with The Scotsman, in Edinburgh, and it was while he was there that he and Chris married in 1971.

Trevor returned to The Northern Echo for a short spell before taking a job as a sub-editor with The Sun in Fleet Street.

He rejoined The Northern Echo in 1979 as a sub-editor and remained with the paper until his retirement, rising through the ranks to become the paper's production editor.

Trevor leaves Chris, daughters Alexandre, Stephanie and Caitlin and grandchildren, Freya, Tiggy, Ralph and Velvet.

His family also asked that mention be made of his "faithful old mare", Jilly, aged 31. Until his sudden death, Trevor loved horses, travel, fine dining and wine, caring for his grandchildren and walking in the Lake District.

Peter Barron, editor of The Northern Echo, said: "Trevor was a fine journalist who gave great service to The Northern Echo, guiding the paper through many technical crises during his time as production editor and assistant editor.

"He was also a gentleman: caring, thoughtful and charming. His death has been met with great sadness by those of us who enjoyed working with him."

Andrew Smith, former editor of the Echo, said: "Trevor was a colleague and good friend. As production editor, he would usually be the last editorial executive on duty into the early hours of the morning.

"It was very reassuring to know that Trevor's dedication and attention to detail would safely see the Echo go to print every night on deadline and to the exacting standard expected of it. He will be a big miss."