Ian Parrott, one of the good guys

Former Express Group Managing Editor Ian Parrott has died aged 55.

Ian joined the company in the 1990s when production switched to Quark Express. His knowledge of the program and the Apple Mac computers on which it was produced was second to none.

In 2003 Ian was appointed Assistant Managing Editor (Production) and was Deputy Managing Editor from 2005 until 2007 when he was promoted again.

He was made redundant in 2012.

Ian's wife Lorraine said: "It was a shock for us and completely unexpected. 

"Ian was admitted to hospital for a routine issue, I expected to collect him that same day or the next but whilst in hospital he deteriorated very quickly and other health issues he/we were unaware of caused complications. 

"Over the course of two weeks he developed pneumonia and then sepsis, the doctors struggled to maintain oxygen levels and sadly could not bring him back.

"Due to Covid restrictions we were not allowed to visit but we could Facetime or phone him until he was put in intensive care. They did let us in once they realised there was nothing they could do and thankfully I, Sadie and Dan were with him when he passed. 

"He was a very clever and talented person who could solve most things that came his way. 

"For the most part his time at the Express was happy but in the Desmond years, things changed and not for the better.

“It was actually a relief when he was made redundant as he was not at all happy working for those people. 

"He was a very kind man and always helped people if he could. He will be missed.

Former Express features sub SIMON HEDGER said in a moving tribute:

I was very sad to read of Ian Parrott’s death at the age of 55 and I was touched by the account you posted by his wife Lorraine of his final days in hospital. She also said that he was a very kind man and had not enjoyed working for Desmond. I held Ian in high esteem.

I can certainly attest to Ian’s personal kindness from my own experience when I took redundancy from my staff job on Express Features when I saw a different, very human side to the brusque and somewhat dour company man.

In January 2009 I was subjected to a confluence of life-changing events. In September 2008 the company had announced a redundancy programme with plans to decimate the subbing operation and roll Features production in with News. This was stressful enough but to cap it all on New Year’s Eve my ancient mother had a fall outside in freezing weather while shutting up her chickens for the night and would have frozen to death had not a neighbour seen her and come to her rescue. This precipitated a family crisis as to how we (or specifically me) were going cope with her infirmity as a result of her near-fatal fall.

Through my sobs I said I had to leave there and then — I couldn’t cope with work and my mother’s problems and I certainly wasn’t going to start subbing News. I had to leave that day. 

I had almost decided to take redundo, and had previously intimated this to Ian and the man whom the company was employing at a huge sum every day to sack as many of us as possible but I had not given them an irrevocable decision. Then I turned up to work for the first time since my mother’s incapacitation to find that Features subbing HAD been rolled into News that very day — and we were all sitting at the same desk. I sat down but after a few minutes decided I really couldn’t cope with this and told my chief sub that I wasn’t having any of it.

I walked into Ian’s office and asked if I could have a word. I started telling him about my mum and how I could no longer juggle home and work life when I was overwhelmed by the stress of everything and burst into tears. Through my sobs I said I had to leave there and then — I couldn’t cope with work and my mother’s problems and I certainly wasn’t going to start subbing News. I had to leave that day. 

Ian took a deep breath and said that might be difficult but told me to go back to my desk and he would see what he could do. An hour or so later he called me in and said I could leave that day and that everything had been fixed. He wished me well, and I could see that he meant it. An hour after that, emotionally dazed, I walked out of the Express for what I assumed would be the last time.

A couple of days later I emailed Ian to thank him for his understanding and kindness on that terrible day and he sent a touching email back to me. I repeated the gesture a month or so later, after I had settled into my new life and got another sympathetic email back from him. 

I have never forgotten his kindness me when I was in emotional turmoil that day, or him going the extra mile with all the admin to ensure that I didn’t have to fit into the new working operation. He was a very decent and kind man doing a horrible job for repellent bosses. Ian really was one of the good guys.

© 2005-2022 Alastair McIntyre