Tributes Paid To Robin Burgess

Tributes have been paid to Robin Burgess, the former chief executive of CN Group, who died last week.

A former Newspaper Society president, Robin died aged 68 at his home in Scaleby, Cumbria, from cancer. Robin leaves a wife Alex and four children, Rose, Kate, Rachel and James.

Robin was the fourth generation of his family to have run the Carlisle-based media group which was sold to Newsquest last year.

A family spokesman said: “Robin was a very good, decent and kind man, aware of his responsibilities to his community and all around him. He loved his family, his county and his newspapers. We shall miss him.”

Jonathan Lee, managing director of Newsquest Cumbria, said: “This is such sad news. Robin was a true gentleman, highly respected across the industry and across the community.

“He was passionate about making sure the media served its community, always taking a keen interest in everyone he met. He will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him. All our thoughts are with Alex and the family.”

Former CN Group chairman Lord Richard Inglewood said: “CN Group wasn’t just his family’s business. He recognised the huge importance of the press and with newspapers such as ours how important it was to be even-handed.

“He was very clear about the need for independence in the press, and would not buckle if somebody wanted an apology that he felt was not appropriate. “He wanted to carry on the best traditions of fair journalism, but was also very respected in the national media world.”

Robin was a former president of the Newspaper Society, which merged with the Newspaper Publishers’ Association in 2014 to become the News Media Association, and sat on many of its key committees including the Legal, Policy and Regulatory Affairs committee and the Independent Publishers Forum.

David Newell, News Media Association chief executive, said: “Robin Burgess was a newspaper publisher of principle and integrity, who understood the community role of local newspapers and their capacity for public good.

“He served the Newspaper Society as president and in this role and other industry positions was a robust defender of the freedom to publish and the need for the industry to stand together against state interference and regulation.

“On all the big calls, his judgment was right, and the news media world will miss his strong, independent voice.”

Carlisle City Council leader Colin Glover said:  “What always shone through with Robin was how proud he was of Cumbria – and how much he cared about local journalism. 

“We talked about CN Group and how it was an ambassador for Cumbria, being a window on the world regionally, nationally, and potentially internationally. I was struck that even though we could have different points of view, Robin was always prepared to listen.”

For 14 years, Robin was chairman of the Lake District Calvert Trust, whose mission is to challenge disability through outdoor adventure.

“He was very active in that role,” said the charity’s centre director Sean Day. “Robin was such a gentle person, and hugely respected. I don’t think I ever saw him being forceful but when he spoke you listened.”