A tribute to Bill Cross, founder of the Grantham and District Talking Newspaper

Bill Cross, founder of the Grantham and District Talking Newspaper, has died, aged 83.
Bill Cross, founder of the Grantham and District Talking Newspaper, has died, aged 83.

FOUNDER of the Grantham and District Talking Newspaper Bill Cross has died, aged 83.

Popular man Mr Cross, of Bradford Close in Grantham, died last Wednesday from complications due to chemotherapy he had received in his fight with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which was diagnosed last year.

Described as a “fighter”, Mr Cross successfully battled the cancer to move into remission, but then fell ill because of his poor immune system.

He leaves his wife Pamela, children Andrew, Tina and Tim, and grandchildren Joel, Toby and Tyler.

Daughter Tina Mickleborough said: “He’s been a tremendous example to us.

“He’s touched the lives of so many people and he will be very sadly missed.”

Mr Cross had a remarkable outlook on life and refused to let any ailments bring him down. He was born with toxoplasmosis which affected his eye sight, and went on to suffer from Parkinson’s Disease, a heart attack and cancer.

Mrs Mickleborough said: “Life threw all these things at him but he never sat down and let it overwhelm him, he always wanted to fight.

“He believed that your destiny is in your character, that was his mantra.”

Born in London’s Bethnall Green as the eldest of four children, Mr Cross was 10 when the Second World War broke out and he was evacuated from the city.

The Cross family was bombed out of their London home and moved to Watford. It was here that he met his future wife Pamela, as they lived on the same street. The couple would have celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary on September 19.

Mrs Mickleborough said: “The story goes that he had a friend who played the trumpet while he played the harmonica. They played ‘I’m in the Mood for Love’ to her. It went from there.”

Mr Cross had left school at 14 to become the main breadwinner.

Mrs Mickleborough said: “He was the most incredible, strong, determined, motivated man, to come from a poor upbringing to educate himself later on in life.

“To have two successful careers was amazing.”

His first career was in purchasing, moving to Grantham in 1974 so he could take up a post at Aveling Barford.

Mr Cross retired due to visual problems 10 years after setting up his own engineering business in Grantham, Kompass Fabrications.

These sight prblems led him to founding the Grantham and District Talking Newspaper, to allow people with sight problems to access news printed in the Grantham Journal.

Mrs Mickleborough said: “He realised that there was no Talking Newspaper. Lots of other towns had them and he thought there should be one in Grantham.

“For him it was a social justice issue. He felt visually impaired and blind people here should have the same facilities as elsewhere.”

Mr Cross had to step back from volunteering at the Talking Newspaper last year to concentrate on getting better after his cancer diagnosis.

His hobbies included creative writing, sketching, travelling and gardening.

A funeral was held yesterday (Thursday) at the Seventh day Adventist Church in Dudley Road, Grantham.