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'Mr Helston' West Briton reporter Noel Perry dies aged 57

By West Briton  |  Posted: June 19, 2013

West Briton reporter Noel Perry dies aged 57

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ONE of the West Briton’s longest standing and best loved reporters - known affectionately as Mr Helston - has died.

Noel Perry lost a courageous battle against cancer and passed away at his home on Tuesday with is family at his bedside.

He reluctantly retired in February due to his ill health, but maintained a positive attitude through his final months.

Noel, 57, was a huge rugby fan, particularly England, and was delighted to cover Helston’s trip to Twickenham in a national final.

And he was proud to recently receive a letter of support from player Jonny Wilkinson, who praised him for his “inspirational example of what courage and true strength is all about”.

He was a well respected reporter throughout the Helston and Lizard community.

Sports reporter Rhod Mitchell said: “Noel was great with people, always showing an interest in even the most mundane stories.”

And colleague Lee Trewhela said: “He really was a gentle giant, who had time and a kind word for everyone.

“He had journalistic integrity with a healthy dose of cynicism and wasn’t afraid to speak up for colleagues or get behind a public campaign.”

When Noel retired he said his success was down to good local journalism.

“It’s reflecting as positively as possible local life and the community,” he had said. “I believe people are inherently good and like to promote that.”

Noel began as reporter with the newspaper in 1974, when he was 18.

He was living at Carbis Bay, where his mother Betty ran a B&B and the neighbour was then editor Max Hodnett, who offered him the job, working from Truro.

Ten years later he married Dee and settled in her home town of Helston, where he remained throughout most his career.

He did have a number of other roles, including assistant editor, but returned to his beloved Helston.

Reporting was not his only love - fighting for his affections were movies, particularly those featuring a certain suave spy.

An amateur filmmaker, he persuaded colleagues at the paper as well as family and friends to act out spoof 007 films.

And his extensive film knowledge was put to use when he spent 20 years writing the West Briton’s film page.

Mr Trewhela said: “All his film knowledge was used to brilliant, and humorous effect.”

But his biggest love was for his family, including wife Dee and children Nick and Kate.

“Noel was a simple man,” said Mr Trewhela. “He didn’t like to travel, preferring to stay in his beloved Helston.

“As long as he was with his treasured Dee and children he was happy. His pride in his family was an inspiration to all who knew him.”

His love for Helston was evident in everything he did, with Flora Day being his favourite in the town calendar, and although he never got invited to dance, his coverage was unrivalled.

And after nearly four decades in the job, one of his highlights was the Olympic Torch’s arrival at RNAS Culdrose last year.

Noel was held in high esteem and affection by everyone, including reporters with other news organisations and many of the organisations in his ‘patch’.

West Briton editor Richard Best said: “Those who met Noel will have known he was a funny, clever man who sometimes enjoyed playing the curmudgeon, but in reality had kindness and compassion running all the way through him.

“He was a fantastic colleague, we all enjoyed his company and relied on his judgement, steady nature and enormous wealth of local knowledge.

“He was passionate about many things – But most important to him was his family, and our hearts go out to them.”

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  • MrPhil  |  June 19 2013, 12:20PM

    I remember Noel beginning his career at The West Briton when I was an apprentice in the composing room. He was a lovely man whose humour was enriched by a healthy dose of cynicism. Very sad.

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