Farewell Captain! Tributes paid to respected journalist

The late John Honeywell
The late John Honeywell
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Tributes are pouring in following the death of a well-respected and much-liked former journalist.

John Honeywell, whose first job was at the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times in the late 1960s and who went on to be a greatly respected figure in national newspapers, died after a short illness, aged 69.

The brother of Clitheroe estate agent and charity stalwart Bill Honeywell, John, editor at large of consumer magazine World of Cruising, was known to many as “Captain Greybeard”.

The oldest of four children, John was one of the last ever babies to be born at the Coplow maternity unit (the former Clitheroe Hospital).

After attending Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, he started work as a trainee reporter on the Clitheroe Advertiser, before taking jobs on the Sheffield Star and Birmingham Post.

When Eddie Shah founded “Today”, the first colour daily newspaper, John joined as an assistant editor, progressing in later years to be managing editor of the Express Group and then Mirror Group Newspapers, based in London.

John, who lived in Hook, Hampshire, led the Mirror Group Graduation Scheme, which gave many young journalists the chance to progress – something he was extremely proud of, his only disappointment being that none of the graduates has (yet) become a national editor.

By the time he retired in 2009, John had developed a love of cruising and he continued to sail the world whilst writing in several national newspapers, often under the pen-name of “Captain Greybeard”.

Paying tribute, Bill, said: “John loved cruising, his motto was ‘Any day at sea is better than a day at the office’.

“His output was phenomenal and led to him becoming editor of ‘World of Cruising’ magazine.

“He remained with the magazine, becoming editor-at-large - the post he held when he died.

“Whether as John Honeywell or Captain Greybeard, he was hugely respected in both journalistic and cruising circles.

“John was also a devoted family man: he married Sheila during his time in Sheffield and they had two sons, Nicholas and Russell.

“He will be sorely missed by all who had the pleasure to know him.”