MLC man mourned

Phil Saunders, media relations manager with the Meat & Livestock Commission, died on Sunday, 20 January, after losing his long battle with cancer.

Saunders, who was also a Guild of Agricultural Journalists member, spent much of his working life as a journalist with the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph, rising to become news editor, first in Rushden then later at Kettering.

In 1991 he moved to the MLC where he will be remembered as a man of fierce determination and high principles. He will also be remembered by many as a staunch defender of the English language and its correct usage. He hated the word 'that', creeping Americanisms and, particularly, split infinitives.

He also had a wicked sense of humour and beneath his sometimes gruff exterior he had a heart of gold and would help anybody.

While at MLC he was heavily involved in media training and many of his colleagues have good reason to be grateful to him both for the training they received and his timely advice at critical moments.

Outside the office his passion was steam railways and his entire garden was given over to a radio-controlled live steam layout which was his pride and joy. His love of archaic forms of transport extended to the inland waterways and narrow boats on which he had many happy holidays

He also had a very small and very fast Caterham sports car which he bought when illness forced him to give up being a born-again Mod and he had to sell his two Lambrettas.

Never one to let the grass grow under his feet, he was a keen home-brewer and had, in the past, been a branch chairman of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale.

Saunders, 57, whose wife Sandra died some years ago, will be sadly missed by many.