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Richard Lindley obituary: ‘Inspiring journalist who was a fighter for the Gospel Oak community’

PUBLISHED: 09:12 02 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:12 02 January 2020

Richard Lindley. Picture: Family of Richard Lindley

Richard Lindley. Picture: Family of Richard Lindley

Archant

Richard Lindley, who died aged 83 in November, was a journalist who interviewed Saddam Hussein, was arrested as a spy in Angola and was banned from what was then known as Rhodesia.

Richard Lindley. Picture: Family of Richard LindleyRichard Lindley. Picture: Family of Richard Lindley

But he was also a prominent community figure, acting as a governor at the Royal Free, chairing the St Pancras Almshouses charity and the Elaine Grove and Oak Village Residents' Association for many years.

After moving down from Hampstead, he lived in Oak Village, Gospel Oak for more than three decades - and outside of a distinguished career spent reporting from warzones and grilling Margaret Thatcher, he was a much-loved community leader who would also visit Gospel Oak Primary and help with reading lessons,

His old producer and lifelong friend Robin Denselow told this newspaper: "He was a very fine reporter, and I wish there were more like him. He never put himself at the centre of the story - he wasn't an egotist at all. He was a strong character and a wonderful man."

Robin recalled the surreal events that had seen himself and Richard arrested in Angola.

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Another friend, former ITN boss Stewart Purvis, said: "He was a huge fighter for the whole community."

Broadcaster, actor and writer Sir Michael Palin, who lived nearby in Oak Village, also paid tribute. Sir Michael, who spoke at Richard's funeral on Wednesday December 11, said: "I have never met someone who did so much yet asked for so little in return.

"That's the thing about Richard, he wasn't in any way vain or boastful. He had an extraordinary sense of social responsibility."

Meanwhile, for his second wife Carole Stone, Richard's abiding memory is one of kindness. She told the Ham&High: "He never said a word to me that hurt. He was honest and he was an inspiring man."

Richard is survived by Carole, two children from his first marriage - Tom and Jo - and grandchildren.

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