Posted: January 31st, 2001
M. PAGE, DM Editorial
(died 31st January 2001, aged 67)
by Brian Bass
MICK PAGE was a journalist’s journalist. While others might be enjoying the editor’s largesse, Mick would at the coalface. No one queried his decisions. No one tried to tell him his job.
When he said a page could go it went. And when he said not yet, even editors and head printers didn’t argue. In the late 80s he realised his full potential. Already known as Fleet Street’s best stone sub, he became Daily Mirror production editor at a time when computers were coming in and old-time comps were going out.
It was a time of conflict and frustration. Reputations were broken. Casualties were many.
Mick Page, with a smile, with a curse, with a shout, with a whisper, never failed to bring the paper out on time. After about three years the Maxwell axe fell and Mick was out. But with a smile on his face he walked down the road to join his long-time friend Phil Walker, who was then editing the Daily Star, and was given a role similar to his Mirror one. Mick also had his pay-off in his pocket and a Mirror pension going into the bank. He had done what we all dream of doing – beaten the system.
He began his career in 1949 on the Lincolnshire Free Press in Spalding on leaving grammar school, and later worked at the Birmingham Evening Dispatch before moving, in the mid-50s, to work on all three London evenings,The Star, Evening News, and The Evening Standard. There were also the News of the World, and Sunday Express before he joined the Mirror. He refused to stop working until his 65th birthday, nearly three years ago. But then that’s what you’d expect. – BRIAN BASS, ex-Features Editor, Daily Mirror.
MICK Page would always be the first name on my team sheet. When it came to getting editions away on time Mick was the master. All done with a minimum of fuss, maximum of skill, and always with a huge smile. We first met stone subbing in the hot metal days. It didn’t take long to realise here was a cool customer in the heat of the composing room. Mick knew every trick in the production book to keep editors and head printers happy. It came as no surprise, when new technology arrived, the Mirror picked Mick to mastermind the off-stone times. As ever he did it with complete success, charm, and that never-ending smile. One that even lasted through his long illness. – TONY SMITH, ex-Sports Editor, Sunday Mirror.
WHEREVER anyone worked with Mick Page, he was the guy people relied on more than any other. The ultimate newspaperman, a great rock, bear-like, totally reliable, the man who found you out, who shouted, then laughed, the man whose career was dedicated to getting people out of the mire. Mick and I first met almost 40 years ago on Daily Mail Features and shadowed each other for years, on the Standard and then the Mirror. But he was much more than a colleague. We were mates. He was always there. We’ll all miss him – as will his loving family, Tina, Lindsey and Chris. No one’s smile lit up like Mick’s. – JOHN GARTON, ex-Mirror Features and Promotions (now working in Florida.)
Memorial service to Mick Page
More than 150 friends and colleagues – including two Fleet Street editors – joined together with Mick Page’s family to celebrate his life at a memorial service at St Bride’s in May.
Mick’s fame stretched back from the Daily Star and Daily Mirror, to the old London Evening News, and originally the fens of Spalding. As the congregation took their seats the Bryan Kelly trad jazz ban played Tin Roof Blues. As people left they struck up When the Saints Come Marching In. Daily Star editor Peter Hill gave the address, Mick’s former Daily Star editor, Phil Walker sat with friends, and ex-Mirror man Richard Stott send his apologies and good wishes. John Jenkinson, former Mirror promotions director read one of the lessons.
In a moving tribute – “I can see him now, with that big grin on his face, and the occasional silent shake of his head” – Mick’s son Chris said that football at Crystal Palace helped bridge the gap between a father “who although fond of a drink was an honest and hard working man” and “a teenage waster” of a son. “We start going to football regularly and I realised this could be the key to it,” said Chris who later gave him a season ticket for his birthday. “But he didn’t seem that excited. He thought I was sending him on his own.”The moment he realised they would be going together “he gave me a broad grin. At last a whole afternoon together. A ,couple of beers. A game of football. Fantastic!” And they didn’t miss a home game until Mick was too poorly to travel. “Now when I go to football,” said Chris, “he’s still always with me,
shouting, swearing and laughing. “Always laughing.”
By PETER THOMPSON
© Peter Thompson 2021. Extracted from Cudlipp’s Circus by Peter Thompson, Kindle Edition.
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