Posted: July 29th, 2013
DEREK PRYCE, former art editor of the Daily Mirror and art director of the Sunday Mirror, died on July 21 from liver cancer. Derek was a graduate of Ealing Art College and spent most of his career with Mirror Group.
Mike Molloy writes: Derek was born with the talent to remain silent, but his smile spoke volumes. It could fill a saloon bar with sunshine. He is one of the now dwindling band of Holborn Circus staff who made their names in hot metal days.
After studying painting at Ealing, Derek worked on magazines, then in the features department of the Daily Sketch. Eventually he was recruited to the Daily Mirror where he was reunited with me and Paddy O’Gara – we were all friends from art school days.
Derek was a highly gifted page designer without the slightest hint of temperament: a useful attribute in the days when art work was made into metal. It was an easy matter to alter linotype text, and headlines could be reset in minutes, but half tone pictures and line blocks made the wrong size could wreck edition times. Pressure meant nothing to Derek, he always remained an island of calm in a sea of panic.
After running the features and news art benches on the Daily Mirror, he moved to the Sunday Mirror where he spent many happy years, and was eventually joined by his daughter, Emma, who still works on the Sunday Mirror art desk.
Other tributes have poured in from Mirror colleagues around the world including this from Frank Thorne in Australia: Such sad news across the miles. I always liked Derek. He was a smiley, gentle character who to me always seemed slightly amused – and bemused – by our Stab and Vagabond carryoutski antics! Please pass on my heartfelt condolences to his widow and family for me.
Sue Bullivant: Such sad news. Thorny is right, Derek had what my mum would have called a lovely way about him, and seemed to have the knack of remaining calm while all around him were going potty (as Stotty would have said). He was very much one of the good guys, and although we may have lost him, the smile will linger on. I will raise a g&t to his memory.
Bryan Rimmer: Derek’s red hair matched his social temperament – often volcanic. He didn’t suffer fools gladly – though he clearly made an exception in my case. We became firm friends and drinking buddies as soon as I joined the Mirror in 1973, and remained so long after both we and the Mirror departed Holborn Circus.
We travelled together – to India, China… even to Paddy’s rural retreat on the pilgrim’s route to Santiago in Spain.
I have fond memories of Derek’s artistic skill and ingenuity. I threw a Bow Tie bash and Derek put much time into designing and hand making his tie. But when he arrived at Rimmer Towers he discovered he’d left his creation at home. Undeterred, he rummaged in his car boot, discovered one of his children’s kites and made a new tie. He won the prize for the best one! I’ll miss the old bugger.
Derek leaves wife, Jean, and two children, plus three other children from a previous marriage.