Veteran Portadown reporter was educated at ‘university of life’

Victor Gordon was aged 75 when he died last Sunday
Victor Gordon was aged 75 when he died last Sunday

A softly-spoken newshound who was educated at the “university of life” has been remembered at a funeral service in his home town.

Victor Gordon worked as a reporter for roughly half-a-century, including more or less the entire Troubles period, and never truly retired before dying on Sunday following a cancer diagnosis.

Mourners included, on left in tweed suit, photographer and long-time colleague Tony Hendron; right, in glasses, Brian Courtney, long-time Portadown Times journalist; centre-right, in navy tie, Alistair Bushe, News Letter editor and former Portadown Times editor

Mourners included, on left in tweed suit, photographer and long-time colleague Tony Hendron; right, in glasses, Brian Courtney, long-time Portadown Times journalist; centre-right, in navy tie, Alistair Bushe, News Letter editor and former Portadown Times editor

The 75-year-old Portadown man was mourned at Armagh Road Presbyterian Church in the town at a ceremony yesterday.

He was an elder of the church and a long-serving tenor singer in its choir, and Rev Christina Bradley said that just four Sundays previous he had been singing there, and that none of his fellow worshippers “had a notion that he had cancer”.

His liver cancer diagnosis came only about two weeks before his death. He knew it was terminal.

Many of the mourners at the church included members of the newsgathering profession, and the minister said there were an estimated 400 people in attendence.

Former UTV reporter Ivan Little during the funeral of Victor Gordon at Armagh Road Presbyterian Church in Portadown

Former UTV reporter Ivan Little during the funeral of Victor Gordon at Armagh Road Presbyterian Church in Portadown

Victor had attended Edenderry Primary School and then Portadown College, and Rev Bradley said that whilst he never went to university, he studied at “the university of life”.

She said his career began at the Portadown Times in 1970.

In an address to mourners, the minister said: “Journalism was Victor’s thing. He had a great sense of justice and picked up many a story, where people were sidelined or marginalised.

“And that really got Victor going. Unfair treatment and injustices people were suffering needed exposed.

Former MLA Brid Rogers and Gordon Adair of the BBC at the funeral

Former MLA Brid Rogers and Gordon Adair of the BBC at the funeral

“He saw it as his duty to let the readers know what was going on with the intention of bringing about change.

“Victor stood up for people who were not given a voice in church and society.”

Rev Bradley also told mourners: “Victor was a quiet man, softly spoken.

“But he wasn’t invisible and his faith wasn’t invisible either.”

Ronnie McFall, former Portadown FC manager, was among the mourners

Ronnie McFall, former Portadown FC manager, was among the mourners

She said that in the course of their work reporters meet “demons and angels” alike, and quoted from the book of Romans: “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

This, she said, echoed what Victor had believed.

Victor chose the hymns for the service, ‘Angel Voices, Ever Singing’, and ‘The Day Lord Gavest Now is Ended’.

He was buried at Old Seagoe Cemetery afterwards, at his family grave where his parents were buried.

Victor died at home surrounded by family on September 3.

He is survived by widow Elizabeth, brother William, daughters Heather and Fiona, son Paul, and grandchildren Cameron and Sarah.