Former editor of Sussex Express dies at age of 72

petercooper SUS-140430-090525001
petercooper SUS-140430-090525001

A ground-breaking former editor of the Sussex Express and former Hailsham reporter, Peter Cavan Cooper, died on April 22, at the age of 72.

Peter was responsible for seeing through the dramatic change of the county paper, which was originally launched in 1837, from broadsheet to tabloid in September 1977.

A Hastings and St Leonards resident for more than 40 years, Peter leaves three children, Simon, Susannah and Nicholas and five grandchildren, Kai, Leo, Genevieve, Ben and Amy.

He was immensely proud of his family who were all devoted to him.

He was divorced but remained good friends with his former wife, Ann, a fellow journalist.

Peter was born in Yorkshire, the first of two sons of Georges, whose mother was French, and Rosemary.

He trained on The Mid-Sussex Times at Haywards Heath where he met his Ann, also a trainee journalist, and married at the age of 21.

After a brief news agency spell, he joined the Sussex Express, living in Hove and working as a reporter at the head office in Lewes, then moving to Hailsham, one of the paper’s seven district offices of that time.

He later moved with his family to Lewes where he became sub editor.

In 1971 the family moved to Hastings and Peter was appointed editor as owners Westminster Press centralised production of the Express and sister papers at the Cambridge Road offices.

His career in journalism also included years as production editor on the national Motor magazine.

Peter had a quick wit, lively personality and forthright views on most subjects!

With an impressive general knowledge, he was incredibly well read with an eclectic taste in literature and he was passionately interested in theatre, film, especially of the 50s, and politics – he was a Labour stalwart from teenage days when he chaired Haywards Heath Young Socialists.

He loved jazz with Billie Holiday as a great favourite and also music from the 30s especially Al Bowlly.

He loved pub life and for many years in Hastings he was an avid quiz team member winning an assortment of trophies.