Malcolm Evans obituary

Other lives: Journalist who moved into the world of business startups

My friend Malcolm Evans, who has died aged 61 of heart failure, was a former Fleet Street journalist who became a well-known figure in Manchester on the business startup scene, and whose expertise was sought by many aspiring entrepreneurs.

He was born in Cinderford in the Forest of Dean, the younger of the two sons of a Welsh college lecturer, William Evans, and his wife, Margaret (nee White), a school secretary from Scotland.

He and I met at the age of 16 at Morecambe grammar school, from where Malcolm went to read history at Downing College, Cambridge, graduating in 1981.

He then trained as a journalist on the Lancaster Guardian and in 1984 went to be a reporter at the Keighley News in West Yorkshire, where he won the title of National Young Journalist of the Year in 1984 for a collection of his stories on local government.

After some reporting shifts on the News of the World, in 1986 he got a job on the Daily Mail, where one story required him to approach the disgraced tycoon Robert Maxwell for a quote in a lift. Maxwell told him to “fuck off”, although the subsequent story said merely that he had offered “no comment”.

In 1987 Malcolm became the youngest news editor on a national paper, aged 27, when he joined the newly launched News on Sunday. Unfortunately the paper folded after just seven months.

Disillusioned, he then turned his back on Fleet Street. Years of hard work and struggle followed, including a spell selling air conditioning. In the late 1980s he moved to Ireland with his partner, where they had two children. Malcolm looked back on his period in Dublin with great affection, but the relationship ended and he returned to Manchester.

He was involved in various business startups, including as a non-executive director of the property company, as founder of Funding Enterprise, a body that carries out research on corporate finance, and as a director of 4Scaleups, a management consultancy.

He developed an excellent reputation in the world of digital startups and was often sought out for his wise counsel and support. In particular he excelled at finding funding for others and helping those in need; he was also kind and generous with his time, advice and money.

A big character with a wardrobe of eclectic shirts, he had a longstanding interest in gyms and bodybuilding and was a committed biker, bearing the scars of a number of road-based mishaps. He had a strong religious faith and a sure belief in the resurrection, and enjoyed high church Anglicanism. He also loved the natural world and wild swimming.

In 2003 he married Susan Wildman, whom he had first met when they were in their 20s, working in local journalism. He is survived by Susan, by his children, and by his stepchildren, Sophie and Matt, his mother and a brother.

• This article was amended on 5 May 2022 to remove some personal information.

Mark Cornthwaite

The GuardianTramp

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