Mourners pay their respects to ‘tower of strength’ journalist

Crowds gathered to say their last goodbyes to a well-known former news editor and local television entrepreneur who was laid to rest today.

Figures from across the regional journalism industry turned out this afternoon at Frankby Cemetery in Wirral for the funeral of Chris Johnson.

The 68-year-old died at the end of June, just three months after being diagnosed with cancer, prompting a wave of tributes and well-wishes.

Before 2pm, more than 100 friends and past work colleagues lined the entrance to the cemetery as the cortege filed slowly past.

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A private graveside ceremony was conducted by Tom Williams, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Liverpool.

Also attending was Denise Fergus, the mum of James Bulger, who Chris represented as her public relations adviser over many years and who described him as a "tower of strength."

Mourners at the funeral of Chris Johnson
Mourners at the funeral of Chris Johnson

Journalists who worked with Chris at the Liverpool news agency Mercury were present along with other colleagues from the city and the wider northwest.

An order of service featured photographs of Chris at different stages of his life, and was accompanied by the message: "Chris' family thank you for your love and support and touching messages of condolence at this deeply sad time."

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Mourners gathered afterwards in the garden at the nearby Farmers Arms in Frankby for a catch up and conversation.

Chris began his career as a 16-year-old photographer on The Catholic Pictorial, before landing a job as reporter at Mercury Press Agency, which he would go on to own and run.

Mourners at the funeral of Chris Johnson
Mourners at the funeral of Chris Johnson
Mourners at the funeral of Chris Johnson
Mourners at the funeral of Chris Johnson

He frequently served as a member of the executive of the National Association of Press Agencies, and was the organiser of the Liverpool Press Club.

After more than 40 years at the helm of Mercury Press Agency, Chris set his sights on becoming an accomplished broadcast journalist and TV producer when he co-founded Bay TV Liverpool.

Chris is survived by his children, Angela and Andrew.

Amongst the many words shared in his final days, Chris left this parting thought: “Even though I’ll be gone, have fun.”

Chris’ family have asked for donations to the James Bulger Memorial Trust, in lieu of flowers – visit