Tributes to larger than life editor

Tributes have been paid after the death of the former Yorkshire Evening Post editor who started as a journalist on the Wetherby News.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 4:33 pm
Editor of the YEP, Chris Bye.

Ardent United supporter Chris Bye famously made sure the YEP came to the rescue when Leeds United were searching for a last minute sponsor in 1991.

It meant the Yorkshire Evening Post was emblazoned on the club’s shirts during the season when Leeds went on to win the last ever old First Division title.

Mr Bye, who served as both editor and a director of Yorkshire Post Newspapers from September 1987 to January 1999, died aged 69 on Monday March 8 after a short cancer battle.

Former YEP production editor Howard Corry said: “Chris was an innovative, inspirational and imaginative editor who demanded the best from his staff and gave much of himself for the paper he loved.

“He was a larger than life figure in many ways; he led the paper to greater things and masterminded a 12-edition a day campaigning Yorkshire paper that was respected by its readers.

“Illness cut his career short but it didn’t stop him writing and campaigning right up to his death. I’ll remember him with affection, admiration and a little awe.”

Adding to the tributes, Leeds United chief executive Angus Kinnear said: “Our thoughts are with Chris’ family, he was clearly one of the unsung heroes from a wonderful time in the club’s history.

“The Yorkshire Evening Post logo on the front of our shirt has a cult status amongst our fans and the partnership represents the community spirit that our city is famous for.

“I’m told that Chris played a pivotal part in creating and maintaining a strong relationship between the fans, the YEP and the club, which is still evident today.”

Mr Bye was born in February 1952 in the former maternity hospital at Hazlewood Castle and went to Tadcaster Grammar School.

He was a talented footballer who had signed to play York City as a teenager before deciding to focus on a career in journalism.

Having started out as a trainee at the Wetherby News with Harrogate-based Ackrill weekly newspaper group in 1970, he worked at the Bradford Telegraph and Argus before joining the YEP in 1974. He also worked for The Yorkshire Post from 1982 to 1987.

Mr Bye returned to the YEP as editor at the aged of 35 in September 1987 and retired early in January 1999 on health grounds, but continued to write as a freelance.

Former YEP chief photographer Mike Cowling said: “He was very dynamic and focused. He instilled enthusiasm. It was fun working with him.”

His widow Annette said: “He had a keen wit and sense of humour, he swam against the tide, a maverick, he stood up to authority, he challenged.

“A true gentleman, erudite, well-read, lover of the arts. He was the most loving, devoted husband.”

Mr Bye leaves three children from a previous relationship - Simon, Laura and Edward - and three grandchildren as well as three siblings.

His family requests that donations in his memory go to the YEP’s Half and Half Appeal.