Obituary: Ian Saunders, journalist, 79

Ian Saunders
Ian Saunders
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A FORMER Evening News reporter whose career in journalism spanned five decades has died at the age of 79.

Ian Saunders started out as a junior reporter on the Evening News in 1949 and retired as The Scotsman’s Scottish news editor in 1993.

Along the way, he worked for the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and the Glasgow-based The Bulletin, as well as a spell in London with the historic John Bull magazine.

Ian was born in Glasgow, the son of John Saunders, a unit operator at Dalmarnock Power Station in Glasgow.

The station, and the family, survived the Luftwaffe’s attempts to hit the building in 1940–41 before the Saunders moved to Edinburgh when Ian was ten, for the sake of the health of his mother Helen.

Ian left Portobello High School at 16 before joining the Evening News to learn his trade.

In 1952, he was called up for his national service and spent two years with the RAF, mostly at RAF Gutersloh, West Germany. This was the headquarters of No 2 Group RAF, close to the East German border where the Soviets became the major threat.

Because of his journalistic training, he was given the official title Clerk to the Commanding Officer, but inexplicably won the nickname Abe from his comrades.

His service came to an end in 1954, and he returned to the Evening News, where his work came to the attention of John Bull magazine. The publication was famous for its cover illustrations and became a national institution in post-war Britain.

He remained there until the magazine ran into difficulties and in 1958 he returned to Glasgow to work for The Bulletin before moving to the Daily Express.

After six years there, Ian spent a three-year spell as a reporter with the Scottish Daily Mail before joining The Scotsman in 1968 as a senior reporter based in Edinburgh.

He went on to spend a quarter of a century there, including periods as education correspondent, religious correspondent, deputy news editor and finally Scottish news editor until his retirement in 1993.

After retiring, Ian turned his attention to holidays, the United States and Hong Kong being among his favourite destinations.

His other passion was bowling and he was a champion and former president of Brunstane Bowling Club.

He was an avid reader and also enjoyed meetings of the Probus Club, a worldwide network which brings together people in retirement who seek to share their values in similar interests.

Ian was celebrating his wife Evelyn’s birthday during a break in Pitlochry and Crieff when he fell ill and later died in Perth Royal Infirmary.

He is survived by his Evelyn, whom he married in 1961, by their son Paul and daughter Jocelyn, and by his brother Alan.