Former journalist Freddie Feest remembered

Freddie Feest, who died on Easter Monday aged 87
Freddie Feest, who died on Easter Monday aged 87

Former journalist Freddie Feest, who created a popular history series called Bygones, has died at the age of 87.

Freddie had lived in Ferring for many years but spent his last four months in Grasmere Nursing Home, Worthing, where he died on Easter Monday.

Freddie with his wife of 50 years, Paddy

Freddie with his wife of 50 years, Paddy

Freddie began his journalistic career as a junior reporter on the Worthing Herald and became a much-travelled writer and photographer.

He went on to complete his National Service in the RAF, during which time he edited the RAF Magazine in Ceylon, then joined East London News Agency as news editor, covering a wide range of major news events for national daily newspapers.

He returned to Worthing as a freelance journalist and photographer, working for the Daily Express and many international magazines.

While freelancing, Freddie developed an extensive interest in motoring and travel. He became the motoring correspondent on the Worthing Gazette and Littlehampton Gazette newspapers in January, 1956.

Five years later, in February 1961, he had a miraculous escape, being pulled feet first from a car wreck in France. He was returning from the Monte Carlo Rally with reports and pictures for the Worthing Gazette when the car skidded on black ice.

In April 1963, the Worthing Gazette made history by becoming the first weekly local newspaper in Britain to send a journalist around the world, covering more than 20,000 miles in 12 days. It was Freddie who made the journey, writing a number of reports about the people he met on his travels.

When the Gazette became part of Beckett Newspapers in 1966, Freddie became motoring correspondent for the group’s six newspapers. He joined the Worthing Gazette and Herald as special features editor and, for a year, he also edited the Eastbourne Gazette Magazine.

In 1971, Freddie was appointed as commercial features editor for the Beckett Newspapers group and in January 1984, he was appointed group business editor in West Sussex.

At one time, he was one of only two journalists elected to both the Guild of Motoring Writers and the Guild of Travel Writers.

Freddie also developed the history series called Bygones and wrote a number of detailed articles about Worthing history, later creating a special website featuring his work.

Freddie dedicated the site to the history of Worthing, seen through the eyes of those who lived it.

He said at the time: “This will act as a resource for all, whether you are someone with an enquiring mind or working on a research project.”

His work is also featured on the Shoreham-by-Sea History Portal. Members of the community website spent several months in 2012 digitising Herald Bygones articles and putting them online.

Roger Bateman, who now writes the Shoreham Bygones monthly feature for the Herald, helped examine, scan and upload more than 240 articles, which had appeared in the Herald between 2000 and 2004.

Freddie’s family ran a well-known Worthing greengrocery business, founded by Freddie’s great-great-grandfather in 1830.

Freddie was one of three children and his parents, Frederick and Victoria Feest, worked together all their married life, running a major part of Feest and Sons. It was the longest-established Worthing business at the time and included a market garden in Tarring.

Freddie married his first wife, Shirley Anderson, in Kirdford on November 9, 1955. He married his second wife Patricia, known as Paddy, in January 1964 and they went on to celebrate their golden wedding in 2004.

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