Former EADT journalist who also worked in Africa, New York and London dies aged 88
- Credit: Archant
A former East Anglian Daily Times journalist who in a long career also worked widely in Africa, New York and London has died at the age of 88.
William (Alan) Syer was one of five children and as a boy attended Myland School in Colchester and later Colchester Art School.
He first worked on the EADT as a reporter in the early 1940s before he was called up for National Service in 1947, serving with the Royal Armoured Corps at the School of Tank Technology in Chertsey, Surrey.
On completing National Service in 1949 he rejoined the EADT before leaving in 1951, aged 23, to take up a job in Lusaka, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia).
During his career in Africa he held various posts, including chief sub-editor of the Sunday Mail in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe), assistant editor of The Chronicle in Bulawayo and assistant editor of The Rhodesia Herald, also in Salisbury.
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He then moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, to become editor of the Argus Africa News Service and then foreign editor for the Argus Printing and Publishing Company. During his time in Africa, Alan had periods seconded to the Argus Group’s London and New York bureaux.
In 1970, he took the big step of moving permanently to New York, when he took over as North American manager and editor for the Argus Group. In 1978 the Argus Group wanted him to return to Africa but, because of political instability in the area, Alan took the decision to leave the company and return to the UK.
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On returning to England, Alan lived initially with his parents in Great Horkesley, near Colchester. His father, Ernest, died shortly after his return and Alan bought a home of his own in Great Horkesley to be near his mother, Emma.
He spent the remainder of his working life back on the EADT as a sub-editor, chiefly responsible for the editing and layout of the business pages, before retiring at the age of 65.
He downsized to a flat in Oxford Road, Colchester, and during his retirement helped with the mobile library service, played chess and attended several Workers’ Educational Association courses at Colchester Methodist Church. He was also an avid reader.
His funeral service was held at Colchester Crematorium on Thursday, November 16, and was attended by family and friends.