Derek Ross, former Courier reporter, dies, aged 47

A FORMER reporter on The Courier newspaper has died, aged just 47.

Derek Ross – son of Ronald Ross, a former editorial manager at the paper’s publishers, DC Thomson – died from an inoperable brain tumour.

Says an obituary in today’s Courier, his career at the paper began as a ‘copy boy’ and ended as aviation reporter. In 1987, he took up the post of media relations manager with British Airways.

Says the obituary: “During his eight years with BA, Derek led the PR campaign for the proposed Heathrow Terminal Five and was in charge of media coverage of several high-profile accidents, plus the handling of flights home of several Middle East hostages.

“He travelled extensively, representing BA in New York, Washington, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, Seattle, Australia and the Far East. He also enjoyed numerous trips on Concorde, hosting TV crews and journalists.

“On the evening of the Lockerbie disaster in 1988, despite being a loyal BA employee, he walked into the headquarters of main rival, PanAm, in London, and volunteered to help.

“He worked throughout the night, dealing with phone calls from distraught relatives and the world media. Among his keepsakes is a letter from PanAm expressing gratitude.”

In 1996, he was appointed head of internal communications with Airbus, in Toulouse, France, and launched the company magazine. This was followed ten years ago with a move to Barcelona, as head of communications for American conglomerate, General Electric, with 18 months also spent with GE in Budapest.

The obituary adds that he was appointed head of internal communications for Vodafone in Newbury, Berkshire, in 2007, and this was followed four years ago with a return to Budapest as chief corporate communications executive for Norwegian telecoms company, Telenor.

It also reports that, two years ago, he set up a consultancy business, Dekros Communication, “and landed contracts with General Electric and another American giant, Tyco”.

He died in Toulouse, where he lived with his wife, Florence, and two children, aged 17 and 14. He had met Florence while on holiday in St Tropez.

He is also survived by his parents, Ron and Wilma, and brother, Colin.