A HADDINGTON resident who dedicated 50 years of his life to journalism has died.

Ian ‘Scoop’ Metcalfe, a former deputy editor of the Courier who served many years in the national press, passed away on February 10 at Haddington Care Home. He was 76.

Mr Metcalfe joined the Courier in 1958 after leaving school at the age of 15.

He enjoyed three periods at the Courier, where he was deputy editor until he retired more than a decade ago.

During a long and successful career in the national press, most notably with the Daily Record, Scoop, as he was known, covered huge stories such as the Lockerbie air disaster and the World’s End murders.

He was a great friend of former Courier editor and former managing director of D & J Croal – the former publishers of the Courier – the late Ken Whitson, with the two known to enjoy shooting in the Lammermuir Hills.

In an article published in 2009 celebrating 150 years of the Courier, Ian wrote: “I’ll never forget going to Macmerry to cover a particularly brutal axe murder on a Saturday morning – clad in my plus-twos and deerstalker hat on the morning of a shoot.

“‘I’m from the Courier,’ I announced on one doorstep.

“‘Aye. I didnae think you were fa’ the News of the World,’ came the laconic response.”

East Lothian Courier:

Bachelor Mr Metcalfe loved to sail – and did so all over the world – and was a strong supporter of the RNLI.

And in the last decade or so of his journalism career, as deputy editor of the Courier, he taught many cub reporters the trade and was always on hand to offer friendly advice and a smile. He also wrote the paper’s leader column, with many in authority more than a little nervous on publication day to discover whether they were in his sights.

Ian was also a well-known face at Haddington Conservative Club, handily for him just a few doors along from the Courier’s then long-standing home at 18 Market Street, before the paper made the switch to more modern premises on Court Street 12 years ago.

He had great pride in the paper. Also writing in 2009, he said: “Despite problems great and small, not one edition of the paper failed to come out in 150 years.

“It survived the Great Strike and even one of Hitler’s bombs landing in the linotype room failed to stop it.

“The staff were a bit like a family: stories of those who had gone before were handed down and many of the reporters trained there went on to make their mark in the national press. In recent years, however, modern technology, computerisation, and the advent of colour printing made change inevitable.

“Some may mourn the sweeping changes they have seen; I, for one, do not.

“Like the county itself, change had to come if the paper was to go on, as I believe it will, for many more years, despite the advent of the internet and other news sources.

“There will always be a place for good local news, and papers that can train up fine reporters to go on and make their name in the wider world.”

Ian, formerly of Haldane Avenue, Haddington, was in recent times at resident of Haddington Care Home.

Courier Editor Robbie Scott, who worked with Ian until he retired, said: “Ian was a larger-than-life friendly character who devoted his life to journalism and deeply cared for Haddington, East Lothian and the Courier.

“Many years in the national press taught him all he needed to know about the profession, and it showed the measure of the man that, at the end of his career, he chose to return to the Courier to gently pass on his wisdom to new generations of reporters while still holding those in power to account. There is unlikely to be a journalist quite like Ian in Haddington ever again.”

His funeral service takes place at 2pm on March 4 at the main chapel of Mortonhall Crematorium, Edinburgh.