Top sports writer dies

TRIBUTES have been paid to respected sports journalist and keen golfer John Drake who died on Saturday aged 69.
John, of Kilpin Hill, Staincliffe, was a lifelong Huddersfield Town fan and was affectionately known to press box colleagues as ‘Drakey’.
John, who had battled with suspected lung disease since April, was still working from his hospital bed until just before his death.
John, who wrote golf columns for the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post, dictated his last report to wife Marjorie from Dewsbury District Hospital last week.
Up to last year John reported on every Town game home and away. His last match was the first home game of the season against Tranmere.
Press editor Martin Shaw, who had known John for many years, said: “Drakey was a real character and one of the old school.
“He was great company and had a treasure trove of stories told in his own inimitable style. He will be sadly missed by a lot of people.”
John started his career in newspapers at the Telegraph & Argus in Bradford in the late 1960s but was given his first job in journalism at the Dewsbury Reporter.
He moved to the Spenborough Guardian and back to the Reporter before joining the YEP where he covered Town from the 1970s. He took early retirement in the late 1990s but continued as golf correspondent and Town reporter on a freelance basis.
Marjorie remembered John as a dedicated and thoroughly professional journalist and said: “We always joked that I came third in his life.
“Huddersfield Town was first, golf was second and I was third. It was a measure of how strong our relationship was that we could joke like that.
“And where did we go for our summer holiday every year? The Open!”
John went to school in Hightown and the couple met at a college history class as teenagers.
They married in 1961 at St John’s Church in Dewsbury Moor when Marjorie was 21 and John 20.
The couple celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary on September 16 sharing his favourite Bavarian cream slice on a ward at Dewsbury hospital.
John took up golf in his early 30s and played off a good handicap.
John was a member at Dewsbury District Golf Club before moving to Howley Hall at Morley.
He also had a long association with Liversedge FC.
Mel Booth, sports editor at the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, described John as a “thorough professional and a credit to our industry.”
He added: “He was passionate about all sport and this was reflected in his honest, forthright and entertaining reporting.”
John’s funeral will take place at Dewsbury Minster on Monday (2pm) followed by committal at Liversedge Cemetery at 3.15pm.

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