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Brian Horton, former editor-in-chief, remembered at memorial

Family, friends and former colleagues gathered in Fleet Street on Friday to celebrate the life of Reuters' former editor-in-chief Brian Horton on what would have been his 77th birthday.

Horton, who died suddenly at his home in Spain on 25 July 2009, was remembered as outstanding in appearance and intellect. He became editor-in-chief in 1968 at the age of 35 and resigned from Reuters in 1973, going first into the wine business in Spain and then returning to London in 1981 as foreign editor and then managing editor of The Times before returning to Spain in 1986.

At Reuters Horton played the leading part in the introduction of a pioneering computerised message storing and switching system that made possible the editing of English-language regional services from one central position, the World Desk, rather than from numerous regional desks. He was also instrumental in the launch of German and French language services.

Horton’s son Robert read a message from Mohsin Ali, former diplomatic editor now resident in North Carolina, in which their work together covering East-West summits and international economic and arms control conferences was recalled.

Another speaker described Horton, a linguist born in the UK of New Zealand parents, as “not an Englishman abroad but a true European”.

Reuters people gathered at St Bride’s Institute to honour his memory included Robert Elphick, Jonathan Fenby, Barry May, Michael Nelson, Manfred Pagel, John Ransom, Peter Smith, Mary Talbot, Bob Taylor and David Ure. ■