Michael Brown, the “larger-than-life” ex-editor of the Lancashire Telegraph lost his fight against cancer on Christmas Day. He was 69.

He became editor of the Lancashire Telegraph in 1979, when he was just 34 and was behind the Telegraph Heartbeat Appeal, which raised cash for hospital equipment.

His wife, Heather Fraser, told the paper:

“We met at the Telegraph, as I worked as a rep in circulation when he came in as editor. He was very well respected and fair.

“He famously once hired a JCB digger when a dog had got stuck down a rabbit hole, which was typical of him. They got the dog out and he certainly wouldn’t have settled until they did.”

He left the Telegraph after 6 years to join the national newspaper, Today as assistant editor and would later set up his own media training company, signing up the likes of Jamie Oliver.

“He was a very forthright editor and certainly shook things up when he took over. He was a very good editor to work for. He was out in the community a lot and went to all the Rovers home games. He was very well liked but didn’t take any nonsense,” picture editor, Neill Johnson, told the Telegraph.

Michael Brown started his career at the Staffordshire Advertiser and later joined the Reading Standard, before becoming a sub-editor on the Reading Evening Post. He’d make the journey north in 1976, when he got the job as deputy editor of Middlesbrough’s Evening Gazette and executive assistant of the Newcastle Chronicle and Journal.