Former owner Doreen created a family at Sidmouth Herald
PUBLISHED: 07:30 30 October 2017
A businesswoman who devoted her life to running the Herald for two decades will be remembered next week.
Doreen Hall and her husband Jimmy, a former Fleet Street journalist, bought the paper in 1965.
The operation was run out of the East Street premises, they lived above it, and their daughter Penny became the photographer when she left the King’s School.
The couple ran the Herald jointly and grew the circulation to its pinnacle of nearly 10,000, later launching the Exmouth Herald and the Midweek Herald with Frank Sharples and Ken Rowe.
The Halls eventually sold the Sidmouth Herald in 1987 and retired to Dorset.
Jimmy died in 1997 and Doreen died on October 14 at the age of 92.
Family friend Judi Driscoll said: “Jimmy treated the paper like he was still on Fleet Street. There was a murder in Branscombe in the middle of the night and he got all the reporters out there. Doreen got everyone breakfast when they got back in.”
Former Herald editor Nick Stephen said: “Doreen was a kind, caring soul who personified what it means to run a family-owned business. She led by example, working incredibly hard seven days a week but always with time for her staff.
“She thoroughly deserved a long and restful retirement and will be sadly missed by all those who appreciated her unwavering loyalty.”
John Goodwin, another former Herald editor, said: “Doreen was a matriarchal character and the staff rewarded this with loyalty.
“She made some good friends in Sidmouth and I know the staff particularly were very sad to hear of her passing. They will be pleased that she enjoyed a very fulfilling retirement.”
Philip Evans, now the managing director of the View From newspapers, added: “Jimmy had a notorious reputation in Sidmouth.
“He was never afraid to challenge those in authority, especially local councillors.
“He was a great newspaper man with a Fleet Street background and I learnt a great deal from him, especially challenging authority bit. But he turned the Herald into a great newspaper.
“Doreen was very kind and treated the staff well – it was very much one big family.”
Doreen’s funeral will be held at noon on Tuesday (October 31) at Walditch Church.