Newspaper delivery driver who made the front page dies aged 89

Garth Thornton newspaper delivery driver has died

Garth Thornton of Bradwell has died after a short illness. He was well-known in the 70s and 80s in his role as a newspaper delivery driver. - Credit: supplied by Howard Thornton

Garth Thornton was the son of a journalist with a key role in delivering all the Norfolk news - via his van.

The 89-year-old who lived in the same Bradwell bungalow with wife Shirley for 62 years has died after a short spell in hospital.

Garth Thornton from Bradwell delivered the news around Great Yarmouth

Garth and Shirley Thornton celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary in 2019. - Credit: supplied by Howard Thornton

His son Howard said he was well-known across Great Yarmouth and the northern parishes for his role delivering newspapers for Eastern Counties Newspapers, now Archant.

As well as transporting the printed pages he was also responsible for collecting money, often carrying large quantities of cash in the 70s and 80s with no thought for security.

In those days his job meant several trips to the printing press at Thorpe to collect the morning papers and later the Eastern Evening News - always with a few rolled up titles sitting on the dash board to give as "a gift" to any lurking traffic wardens.

Mr Thornton had the same "arrangement" with chip stall holder Jack Kelly who would happily dole out a free cone in return for a copy - likely the next day's chip paper.

One clipping however remains valuable to the family 50 years on.

Garth Thornton made the papers in 1972

Garth Thornton, a newspaper delivery driver, made headlines when he came to the aid of a 12-year-old school boy who forgot it was half term and was trying to get to school. - Credit: Archant archive

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In 1972 Mr Thornton came to the aid of Beccles schoolboy Liam Corley who was having trouble getting the bus to school having forgotten it was half term.

The story made the front page and has survived among the family archive, saving it from a fish-and-chip fate.

Son Howard described his father as "straight talking and opinionated" adding he loved a bit of banter and never uttered a profanity.

EDP front page featuring Garth Thornton in 1972

The front page of the Eastern Daily Press on February 19, 1972, carried a mix of stories including one involving newspaper delivery driver Garth Thornton who came to the aid of a school boy. - Credit: Archant archive

He was born in St John's Wood in London and spent two years in New Zealand learning to be a sheep farmer. He served with the RAF during his national service.

His father was a journalist and had a business in The Strand in London. Later the family moved to St Olaves.

Mr and Mrs Thornton married and had two children Howard and Fiona. Mrs Thornton is a former senior midwifery manager at Northgate Hospital and later the James Paget in Gorleston.

Mr Thornton loved fine dining and was a regular at Pamela's in Great Yarmouth.

He died unexpectedly after a short spell in hospital following a fall.

At his request there will be no funeral service. He had hoped to leave his body to medical science but was sadly disqualified due to a medical condition.