Legendary Sun Chief Reporter John Kay dies aged 77 after stellar career spanning four decades

LEGENDARY Sun Chief Reporter John Kay has died at the age of 77.

John was named Reporter of Year twice in a stellar career which spanned four decades.

The ebullient story getter was famed for his countless scoops which included revealing The Queen’s famous 1992 “Annus Horribilis” speech.

Journalist’s son John graduated from Durham University and originally planned a career as a vet before becoming hooked on his dad’s profession while editing a student newspaper.

He joined the fledgling Sun in 1974 as a general reporter, then Industrial Editor before becoming Chief Reporter in 1990 after helping to drive a record circulation surge.

John held the post up until 2011 and will be remembered by colleagues for his enthusiasm, professionalism, charm – and a truly incredible contacts book.

He said of his famous Annus Horribilis scoop: “For me, a good story was always ‘a Belter’. A fantastic scoop was a ‘Triple Belter’.

“My favourite was when we revealed what was going to be in the Queen’s Speech in 1992.

“I had a contact who worked in BBC local radio. The stations always got an advance audio copy of the speech.

“My contact had never thought to mention them to me before because the content was always so dull.

“But this was after the Queen’s Annus Horribilis, the year of the big fire at Windsor and Charles and Di splitting up.

“Now that was a Triple Triple Belter!”

The dapper, ever-cheerful Arsenal fan – who loved a flutter on the horses – will also be remembered for nurturing generations of young Sun reporters with sage advice.

Sun Editor in Chief Victoria Newton said today: “The word scoop was invented for John Kay, Fleet Street’s finest ever reporter.

"He inspired generation after generation of young journalists with his endless enthusiasm, wisdom and incredible work ethic and always volunteered to work Christmas Day so others didn't have to.

“Rest in peace Johnners”

John – whose beloved wife Mercedes died four years ago – passed away after a long illness on Friday at a nursing home in Hertford, Herts.  

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