Posted: October 22nd, 2018
DEREK PRIGENT, a stalwart of the Daily Mirror news subbing team in the Sixties, died in Sussex on September 26  aged 85.
Roger Wood, who worked with Derek on the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and The Sun, said: “Derek was a brilliant operator with a sure touch. Many a chief sub or workmate had cause to thank him for his uncanny knack of spotting potential pitfalls and errors – or improving headlines or intros.”
Derek started his career on the Guernsey Star, though by the mid-1950s he was a reporter on the Slough Observer. It was there, in 1956, that he met and then married Sylvia Moody, who worked in the newspaper front office.
Derek spent a spell in Newcastle, followed by sub-editing for the Daily Mirror in Manchester, then a move to the Mirror in London. He also did shifts on the Sunday Mirror. After an unsuccessful change of career as the landlord of the Heart in Hand pub, in Thameside Bourne End, Bucks, it was back to Fleet Street in 1973 – where Larry Lamb welcomed him aboard the new Sun as a night desk executive. Derek retired in 1990.
Patsy Chapman, a former Sun and Mirror sub-editor, Sun night-desk executive and News of the World editor, said this week: “Priggers was a clever, lovely man. Such a gentleman. Always smiling. He did us all heaps of favours.”
Fleet Street veteran John Smyth met Derek sixty years ago in Slough. They worked together on the Daily Mirror in the Sixties. He said: “Derek was a professional down to his fingertips; wise, helpful, friendly, encouraging and amusing. He was also great company socially.”
Derek is survived by Sylvia and their son and daughter, Neil and Lesley. Derek’s later years were plagued by dementia, bravely borne. A family funeral was held at Chichester on October 11 (2018).
By BILL ROWNTREE, former Mirror Group photographer
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