The Society of Editors has paid tribute to Peter Preston, former editor of the Guardian, whose death at the age of 79 was announced at the weekend.
Preston, a Fellow of the Society of Editors, was a strong supporter of the organisation, attending many events and conferences.
Executive Director of the Society Ian Murray commented: “For such a softly-spoken, unassuming man Peter was a giant of a journalist. While some of us shout for a living, Peter simply got on with his craft. I have never met a fellow journalist who didn’t admire the man and his passion for our profession.
Peter was a staunch supporter of the Society and all that it stands for and we are extremely grateful to have had the benefit if his wisdom over many years.”
Preston, led the Guardian between 1975 and 1995 and later became an Observer columnist
He first joined the Guardian in 1963, after training at the Liverpool Daily Post. He continued to work as a journalist until just before his death. His final column, published on New Year’s Eve, focused on the challenges facing journalists “and their rough trade” in 2018.
He became the editor of the paper in 1975 and over the next two decades oversaw a number of exclusive stories about politicians’ conduct.
Preston, who was born in Leicestershire, turned his hand to fiction writing after leaving the editorship in 1995.
The Guardian’s current editor Katharine Viner said he was a “brilliant editor” and a “supportive friend”.
His son Ben, executive editor of the Sunday Times, said his father “died a good death” and “he was loved” until the end.