Charlie Golder obituary

Young journalist who, despite his illness, set up his own ‘off-the-wall’ sports agency

Charlie Golder, who has died aged 27 of cancer, loved writing and football, and last year combined these passions when he started his own agency, Golder’s News and Sports, to provide what he called “off-the-wall” sports news.

Charlie studied demand and identified patterns, especially in foreign sports news that was not being reported in the UK and which he thought might interest his readers. The more outlandish, quirky, funny or tongue-in-cheek the story the better. Charlie had a real knack for knowing what readers wanted, not least because he was a sports enthusiast himself, a huge Chelsea fan with a tremendous knowledge of football, says his brother Joe.

Charlie was born in Chichester, West Sussex, son of Andrew Golder, a singer and narrator, and Lucy Strachan, a librarian. While he was still a child, the family moved to Thiviers, a small town in south-western France, where Charlie went to school. As well as sport, he loved wildlife and music. He learned the oboe at the age of seven, and later played acoustic, electric and bass guitars.

He was 15 when he was diagnosed with the rare and potentially fatal Pompe disease, which wastes the muscles and the heart. This required fortnightly intravenous treatment for the rest of his life, but that did not stop Charlie from obtaining a first degree and then a master’s in linguistics from Nottingham Trent University.

He then moved to Vienna where he became fluent in German, obtained a teaching diploma, and worked at the University of Vienna’s Language Centre, before realising his dream of living in Japan. He had taught himself Mandarin Chinese and Japanese as a child, and had a lifelong fascination with Japanese culture.

In 2014, Charlie was given the all-clear after treatment for a tumour behind his nose, and immediately started a full-time job with the Central European News (CEN) agency, rising rapidly to be chief subeditor. He met his soulmate Benedetta Tamburini at a party, and enjoyed life. With CEN’s approval, in 2017 he hived off its sports coverage into Golder’s News and Sports.

In December 2016 Charlie was told the cancer had returned, and was metastatic and very aggressive. He was in constant pain but continued to keep an eye on articles from his hospital bed.

I met Charlie’s family 15 years ago. Like everyone he came across, I was immensely impressed by his positive attitude, charm, sense of humour and, later, his will to live against odds that would have defeated many people long before. He never complained.

He is survived by his parents and his siblings, Joe, Luke, Georgi and Anaïs. Joe will take over the sports news agency.

Barbara Casassus

The GuardianTramp

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