Fond farewell to a great Expressman


FAMILY, former colleagues and friends paid a fond toodle-pip to Alan “Bacca” Baxter, the Daily Express North East district reporter who left a lasting impression on all those who were fortunate to know him. 

More than 100 said farewell to 82-year-old Alan William Harrison Baxter who died on October 16 – after a last request for a gin and tonic – at St John Lee parish church in Acomb, near Hexham on Friday, October 23.

The order of service proclaiming “It’s Toodily Pips To Baxter!”  – to use his trademark way of saying cheerio – was illustrated with a photograph of Alan in top hat, cigar in hand and binoculars round his neck reflecting his love of horse racing.

His niece, the Mail on Sunday’s Sarah Oliver, gave the eulogy. Onwards Christian Soldiers and Jerusalem were sung with gusto before everyone retired to The Rat, in nearby Anick, a knockout country boozer overlooking the Tyne Valley and Alan’s local, for a memorable wake. 

Former Daily Expressmen spotted there remembering him over pints of Timothy Taylor’s best and speculating why he was never by-lined Harrison Baxter, were Peter Whittell, Peter Holland, Philip Aris and Tony Brooks.

Among those who would have loved to make it but couldn’t were Bill Hunter, John Knill, John Bell, Carole Malone, Chris Boffey, James Macmanus, Peggie Robinson, David Richardson, David Haigh and Roger Scott.

Along with everyone there they all had affectionate memories of a really good sort.

One last toodle-pip

© 2005-2022 Alastair McIntyre