Tributes to journalist and broadcaster John Myatt

Local journalist and broadcaster John Myatt. Local journalist and broadcaster John Myatt.

Monday, December 23, 2013
12:02 AM

Norfolk journalist and broadcaster John Myatt has died at the age of 82.

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His long career included being head of news at Anglia TV and running a news agency in Great Yarmouth but he will be best remembered as an award-winning sports editor and football commentator with BBC Look East.

In more recent years in his home of Caister he had led the parish council’s campaign to persuade Tesco to build a larger store in exchange for better community facilities and, as keen bowler, he had also helped to secure a new and extensive bowls pavilion and changing room.

Mr Wyatt was born in Staffordshire and worked in local newspapers where he took a particular interest in sport.

Meeting his wife Janet, who died in 2002, led him to Norfolk where he became one of the early news editors at Anglia.

But he quickly spotted a gap in local news coverage and set up Great Yarmouth Press Agency in offices the town’s Queen Street above a dental surgery with photographer Bryan Colton and another journalist John Anderson.

They covered many major stories, including the growth of the oil and gas industry as well as reporting on the stars who spent summer seasons in the resort, among them Morecambe and Wise and Danny La Rue. John was involved with a number of charity organisations and commentated on football games featuring the big-name stars.

At the same time he was much in demand as a freelance broadcaster with BBC East. He was a reporter and presenter on the magazine programme Roundabout East Anglia which went from the All Saints Green studio in Norwich on the VHF frequency in the days before local radio.

And he was also a sports editor with Look East producing and presenting sport bulletins twice a week as well as travelling thousands of miles to cover matches.

He helped set up the weekly Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Advertiser and became increasingly involved with public relations work promoting tourism and industry, including Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach and the Port Authority.

Mr Myatt died at Southwold Hospital yesterday, having been transferred there as a result as a result of a major news story – the threatened flooding of Great Yarmouth and its Northgate Hospital where he was being cared for. He died just three days before his 83rd birthday on Christmas Day. He leaves a daughter, Lucy and a son, Peter.

Lucy said they had received many messages from John’s former colleagues, who all had such fond memories of him and held him in high regard.

BBC Norfolk managing editor David Clayton, who broadcast with Mr Myatt, said: “I always found him a lovely man to work with, very experienced and a great professional.”

Former BBC Radio Norfolk presenter, Places and Faces Editor and Great Yarmouth Mercury chief reporter Tony Mallion said: “This really is the passing of an era.

“John’s career is a long and outstanding one and I’ve had the privilege of knowing and working with him on an off for so many years.”

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