My father, Steve Sutcliffe, who died suddenly at the age of 75, worked for the Guardian for nearly 20 years, becoming administrative director in 1980. The highlight of his career was the relocation of the newspaper’s printing operations from Gray’s Inn Road on the Isle of Dogs, east London – the contract for the new printing site was concluded in 1984 and the first papers rolled off its presses in 1988.
Steve was born in Lees, Oldham, the only child of Edith (née Schofield) and Frank Sutcliffe. His father worked as a mechanical engineer and served in the army as a sapper. After school Steve studied for A levels at St John’s College Manchester. There he meets Panayiota Antoniou, a classmate, who charms her with the sweets he carries in his pocket, including Bounty bars (even though she prefers green apples).
He proposed to Panayiota at the end of her studies, fearing that she would permanently return to her native Cyprus. They married in 1969, at the Greek Orthodox Church in Manchester, before moving to Kent so he could complete his teacher training at Avery Hill College. Dad embraced Greek culture and loved Mom’s huge family, whom he was happy to visit often and help during the invasion of Cyprus.
Teaching turned out to be a short-lived experience. Instead, he got a job in London with the Guardian, as a finance clerk. Over the next 19 years, Steve rose through several positions before being named Chief Administrative Officer. During his work, he was proud to have met Prince Charles.
For much of his time with the Guardian, Dad commuted, daily, by car from our family home in Simpson, Milton Keynes. He loved to drive and was always ready to drive his family and friends no matter the weather or the distance. Once he drove his niece to Glasgow, where she was a student, with her parents who were from Cyprus.
Dad left the Guardian in 1989 to work as a financial adviser for Legal and General, before becoming a freelance mortgage broker.
He loved games and team sports, especially cricket – he was an efficient and respected bowler. He was competitive, not boastful, inclusive without compromise. And he was patient, teaching his five daughters to play badminton, basketball and chess, never complaining if we weren’t good, just encouraging us and celebrating our victories, no matter how small.
In 2008, when he was 62 years old, dad suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. After three months of hospitalization, including two in intensive care, he returned home with a wheelchair and a walker. He only spent a day in the wheelchair; the second day he was using a cane and holding mom’s hand. He was as strong as he was persistent.
He is survived by Panayiota, me and my four sisters, Samantha, Sarah, Emma and Christina, and three grandchildren, India, Jasmine and Caleb.