Richard was considered one of the school’s academic elite, vying for top spot with classmates Robert Hutton and Roger Goffee. He was a tall young man with a mop of ginger hair and a very distinctive gruff voice; a gentle giant who played for a while in the school rugby team. He was a great school mate, and when I returned to London in 2004 I made contact with him. He was living on the Isle of Dogs, where I now live, and we talked about having a class reunion. Sadly, we never did get it together.
– Colin Belton
Richard took early retirement in 2005, through ill health, when he was editor of the East London Advertiser. His career in journalism began at the Essex and East London newspaper group in 1970 and he was promoted through the ranks to take the group editor role in 1999. The following tributes were published in ‘Hold the Front Page’.
Julia Hartley-Brewer, now political editor of the Sunday Express, spent almost two years as a news reporter at the Advertiser in the mid-1990s. She said: “Dick was my first boss when I started out in journalism. He was a no-nonsense, old time hack and I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher. We always kept in touch and spoke only a month or so ago. His death is a great loss to his many friends, to journalism, to the East London Advertiser – and to East Londoners.”
Ex-Bethnal Green and Bow MP Oona King said she was saddened to hear of Dick’s death. She said: “Even though we disagreed on lots of things, I often had a laugh with him. We had a healthy professional relationship and a shared respect for colourful characters in life. Many people will miss him dearly.”
London Minister and Poplar and Canning Town MP Jim Fitzpatrick said they frequently argued on political issues, but he still respected him. He added: “Richard was a toff, at least that’s how he appeared to me, always very correct. We didn’t agree on much but I always respected the fact he didn’t favour anyone! He printed what he liked and when he liked, with stories and letters appearing way after they were sent in.”
Close neighbour and former Tower Hamlets council leader Julia Mainwaring said her daughter Anna, now working for the BBC, also benefited from his guidance. She said: “He gave her her first break as a work experience student and he really encouraged her to go for it. I saw him not long ago and I thought he looked quite well – I thought he was better than he had been for a while. He was a real character and I had genuine affection for him. He really cared about his readers and people in all levels of society. He was instrumental in campaigning for the Civilians Remembered memorial in Wapping to the victims of the wartime bombing in the Docks. Without his decision to get the Advertiser involved, that memorial might not have come about. I’ll always remember when we walked round South Quay after the IRA bomb and how genuinely moved he was by it all.”
Phil Hall, media consultant and former editor of the News of the World, said: “Dick Tidiman was a brilliant journalist who always connected with his readers. He was also an inspiration to a generation of young journalists and a friend that could always be relied upon for a kind word in times of trouble. He will be hugely missed.”