Tributes have poured in from colleagues and friends of former Lynn News journalist Bryan Tann who died on Tuesday.
Bryan, 84, of Dersingham, was just 16 when he began his career in journalism which spanned 47 years, most of which were spent at the Lynn News.
Former colleagues have paid warm tributes, remembering his exceptional command of the English language, his encyclopaedic knowledge of local and national events and his unique sense of humour.
Bryan left King Edward VII Grammar School in Lynn and joined the then Lynn News & Advertiser as a trainee reporter. After 11 years of reporting, he joined the Wisbech Advertiser and Saturday Pictorial, later the Fenland Citizen, as a sub-editor, an area of journalism in which he remained almost continuously until he retired in 1998.
He returned to the Lynn News in 1963 as sub-editor, but left in 1971 to join a West Norfolk publishing business specialising in church magazines. He returned to the Lynn News in 1973, became deputy news editor and eventually took on the role of chief sub-editor.
He was a former member of Lynn Civic Society and, as an enthusiast of jazz, he helped to organise jazz clubs in Lynn. He was also once the very proud owner of an Isetta bubble car, a choice which amazed some because of his height of 6ft 5in.
His wife, Cherry, said: “His career at the Lynn News played a large part in his life and he really enjoyed working there. He made many good friends over the years.”
Former Lynn News editor David Young said: “ I first met Bryan at Peterborough in 1960 and we remained friends throughout our careers. During my time at the Lynn News, from 1984 to 1999, he was a popular senior sub-editor with a huge and invaluable fund of local knowledge. Also notable were his vast experience, attention to detail and popularity among staff from all departments of the business. At well over six feet, he walked tall both physically and professionally. He is much missed.”
Malcolm Powell, also a former Lynn News editor, said: “He set a fine example to everyone, especially people entering the profession. Everyone called upon his encyclopaedic knowledge of local and national history. He had a dry sense of humour which we all appreciated.”
Former deputy editor Andrew Malkin and his wife, former sub-editor Glenis said: “Bryan upheld the highest professional standards throughout his long career and it was testament to his tenacity that he embraced and mastered a rapid technological change in the newspaper industry as he approached retirement.
“We were part of a very happy sub-editing team for many years, with Bryan always the fount of all local geographical, historical and grammatical knowledge. To a large extent he was the ever-reliable ‘Mr King’s Lynn’.
“Many funny stories from within Lynn News’ four walls have become legend, with Bryan often at their heart enjoying a laugh and sometimes as the subject – most notably his 6ft 5in-frame crammed into his bubble car and the Rusty Fiat award for innocently saying the wrong thing in ear-shot of the wrong person!
“He was a great personality, colleague and friend and we were privileged to have spent the best years in newspapers working alongside him.”
Paul Watson, who worked alongside Bryan at the Lynn News & Advertiser for many years, said he was a wonderful colleague, great fun and a superb professional.
“I learned so much from Bryan about the craft of journalism, sub-editing and page design. He was a master of the art and he freely imparted that knowledge and advice.
“His career as a journalist came at a time of great change for the industry. He started in the times of hot metal newspaper production, moved to the cut and paste era and then on to what was then called desktop publishing, where writing and editing were all done on screen. He was also there as the internet became more and more important.
“He was also a good and amusing friend outside the office environment. Bryan was one of the best.”
Former reporter Mike Last said: “I will remember Bryan as the ‘gentle giant’ of the workplace, who always had a friendly smile and sense of humour that quickly lifted spirits and made him a popular character in the newsroom.
“He was always happy to give advice to young reporters and seniors alike, explaining why changes or grammatical corrections were needed in stories, and he was an excellent sub-editor, with many years of experience.
“Both in work and out of it, he was a genial and affable man and, as such, he will be sorely missed.”
Frank Edmonds, a former sub-editor who worked with Bryan for many years, said: “Bryan was very professional and had high standards – a last bastion in the defence of the English language, and every newspaper needs one of them. I certainly learned a lot from him. He also had a lovely, wicked and self-effacing sense of humour.
“He was a gentle giant, and was just a joy to work with.”
Former Lynn News special projects editor Roger May, who knew Bryan for 51 years, said: “A genial giant with a ready wit, Bryan was a good friend and colleague to generations of Lynn News reporters, and his passing leaves a large gap in many of our lives. Ever-reliable and with a formidable knowledge of West Norfolk, he was the go-to person for young reporters seeking background information for their stories. A true local journalist.”
Bryan leaves his wife, Cherry, a son, a stepdaughter, a stepson and two grandsons.
Bryan’s funeral service will be held at St Nicholas Church, Dersingham, on Thursday, February 22, at 2pm.