JIM Williams, a giant of local journalism, has died suddenly aged 75.
The last decade of a career spanning 45 years was spent as editor of the Oldham Evening Chronicle.
It was in 1968 that Jim, who lived in Uppermill, joined the Chronicle to become the local daily’s Oldham Athletic reporter having spent three years as a trainee at the Ashton Reporter.
It was a role he relished, building a strong following among readers for his forthright verdicts and insightful reporting that saw him refuse to toe the club line and often put him at odds with the board.
Jim took that search for the truth with him when he moved on to become the Chronicle’s news editor, deputy editor and then editor.
He took that same keen eye for detail into Oldham’s Council chamber to write hard-hitting Chronicle sketches of council debate.
Veteran Cllr John Battye remembers them well, saying: “From Latics’ reporter to setting the scene at Oldham Council meetings, his reports were always sprinkled with great wit and insight.
“Councillors couldn’t wait to see the next night’s Chronicle to see if Jim had given them a mention – even if it was a dressing down!
“Jim was a true professional who left an unparalled legacy of reports and editorial comment on local life and events in and around Oldham.”
One of Jim’s finest achievements was in establishing the Pride in Oldham Awards in 2001.
These gave recognition to hundreds of Oldhamers who went the extra mile for the borough and its people and ran for 15 years before the newspaper went into administration in 2017.
Jim was out walking only days before contracting pneumonia. He died on Friday, February 1 in the Royal Oldham Hospital with his wife Karen and daughter Jane at his bedside.
Jim also leaves a son-in-law Phil and granddaughter, 17-year-old Eleanor. He also had a son Adam who died of a brain tumour at the age of 34 in 2004.
- The funeral of Jim Williams, former editor of the Oldham Evening Chronicle is on Monday 18th February 1pm at St Chads Church Uppermill followed by family at the Crematorium