Tributes paid to former head of council and BBC news producer John McManus

Heartfelt family tributes have been paid to a former head of council and BBC news producer who died on May 9, aged 86. Former journalist and lecturer John McManus, who worked for BBC Look North West and Radio Manchester before also becoming leader of Rossendale Council, has tragically died after a three-week stay in hospital.

The 86-year-old grandfather, who first started out as a reporter for Shield’s Gazette in South Shields before working in Manchester.

He had met his wife Pamela at work – after he was sent to question her when she covered a hot frying pan with a damp cloth and ran out of the house with it, saving her parents’ home . He then moved on to producing the BBC’s nightly regional news for Look North West, Manchester, in the early 1970s.

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After a mammoth 25 years, he became boss of BBC Radio Manchester before retiring from broadcasting in the 1990s. He then moved on to teach media studies at the University of Salford in 1989, and served there remained, directing the MA course in documentary until his retirement in 2010.

Alongside his work in the media, John, who lived in Helmshore, Rossendale, with his wife Pamela and children Mark, Simon and Jessica, was Labor Councilor for Worsley and then Helmshore ward, before becoming Leader of Rossendale Council during three years. in the late 90s. Before his funeral, his two children Simon and Jessica paid a heartfelt tribute to their “selfless and kind” father.

John married his partner Pamela in August 1963

They said: “Childhood memories are mainly of long camping-caravan holidays in the south of France, visiting castles, museums and historic sites, attending town festivals and meeting local people. inhabitants.

“Evening TV news was exciting but high pressure and intense. He loved it but was constantly busy and had little time for leisure, and in the meantime he was taking cycling holidays around Europe and even to cycling through Cuba before it became a popular vacation destination.

“When he entered the conference, he was the happiest. He found an audience to share his love and enthusiasm for his craft with.

John in his BBC North West office in Manchester, 1985

“He’s never been happier, working at university and spending a lot of time on weekends and holidays with his grandchildren. Most weekends they were at the science museum or the ‘Blue Planet aquarium, or on board trains on the East Lancashire Railway with various grandchildren.’

Simon and Jessica lost their mother Pamela in December 2019, whom John had cared for before her death, and their older brother Mark to cancer in August of the same year. John, who was an eight-year-old, also lost two of his brothers, Alfie and Michael, in the years that followed.

John struggled to speak or write when he died, after his mobility began to decline following a stroke in 2016.

Ahead of his funeral at Accrington Crematorium today (May 19), Simon and Jessica added: “His last 3 years have been difficult but we’ve managed to get out every once in a while for a coffee or a beer.

“He was a popular and caring man who had a huge positive influence on many people in many aspects of life. One of the most cruel events hit him with his last major blow, for someone who loved to talk, with a beautiful voice and so much to say, the loss of his ability to communicate was devastating for him.

“Dad was a kind, selfless man who genuinely cared about people who needed help. He didn’t just voice his point of view, he tried to do something to help wherever he could. .”