'Legendary' former editor and loving family man Dennis Signy dies aged 85

Times Series: Dennis' time at Hendon coincided with the ward's MP Margaret Thatcher becoming elected as Prime Minister Dennis' time at Hendon coincided with the ward's MP Margaret Thatcher becoming elected as Prime Minister

A “legendary” former Times Series editor described as a staunch community figure and loving family man has died aged 85.

Dennis Signy passed away at his home surrounded by family and friends last night (Tuesday) following an illness.

The passionate football fan and journalist who “had every job in the business” counted legends of the game including Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Geoff Hurst as his friends.

His long career as a writer began at the Ham and High at the age of 16 in the early 1940s but after just one month he left to start as a junior reporter on the Hendon and Finchley Times.

After leaving to do his national service for four years towards the end of the Second World War, the West Ham fan returned to work on the north London titles.

His dedication to local news and his belief that the paper should be immersed within the community saw him promoted to assistant editor and later group editor – a post he held for 17 years until 1985.

It was while working at the Times Series in 1983 that Dennis was awarded an OBE for his community and charity work.

His time at Hendon coincided with the Finchley MP Margaret Thatcher being elected as Prime Minister.

Dennis' relationship with the Conservative leader was a good one and the pair got on well during their time working with one another.

As a testament to Dennis' hard work at branching the newspaper out into the commmunity, the Prime Minister personally attended the official opening of the Times Series' new offices in 1981.

The talented journalist was admired by his colleagues and he made friends throughout the industry who remember him fondly.

As well as journalism, football was Dennis’ lifelong love and he combined the two by penning numerous books on the sport and becoming involved in the Football Writers’ Association.

He was a member of the organisation between 1968 and 1986 and became secretary and later chairman during his time there.

His love for football was not restricted to writing about it and he briefly left the Times Series in 1965 to take the general manager’s job at Brentford Football Club.

When he left the newspaper for a second time in the mid-1980s, he became chief executive at Queens’ Park Rangers before later volunteering with Barnet FC.

During this time he wrote “for every national newspaper” as a freelancer and enjoyed a column for the Sunday Express, for which he would take a well-known celebrity to the match of their choice and write up their take on it for the paper.

In his retirement, Dennis volunteered for the Bees, working as an ambassador within the community and passing on his strong belief that the team should remain playing in the borough.

Dennis leaves behind five children, seven grand children and his wife Pat, to whom he was married for 46 years.

She said: “He was the most equable man you could ever meet. I have rarely ever seen him lose his temper and our children adored him.

“He was a brilliant father – strict, but that did them some good – and he loved them dearly. He was very funny and I shared a lot of his working life. He was just a lovely, lovely man and my best friend – I will miss him.”

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