Hospitality journalist and former writer for The Caterer Alan Sutton has passed away suddenly, aged 78.
Sutton was born in Barnet and started his journalistic career in the food industry in the early 1970s as an industrial catering features writer and editor for what was then Caterer & Hotelkeeper. He was later head-hunted by the editor of Catering Times, Miles Quest, and joined the publication as features editor in 1979.
After working as a freelance writer for a short while, in 1983 he was recruited by Quest to join his new PR and publications business Wordsmith & Co as a partner, initially in High Wycombe and then on London's Albemarle Street.
He worked at Wordsmith & Co until 1989, after which he set up his own business, Alan Sutton Editorial, and was joined by his daughter Heidi. They took on the editorship of the Hotel and Catering Institutional Management Association's (HCIMA) Hospitality magazine and Compass Services in-house newspaper Compass News.
During the 1990s and early 2000s, Sutton was also a member of the Contract Caterer of the Year judging panel for The Caterer's Catey Awards.
He closed his editorial business and became a church pastor in 2008, but continued to freelance for a few years for Alan Dewberry and David Foad at Dewberry Redpoint. Eventually, he became a church pastor full-time before retiring in 2018.
In 2012, together with his wife Sue, Sutton established the Dunstable Foodbank, working with the Trussell Trust to help those in need in the town. He had only recently stepped down from the trust from his role as chairman.
Julian Demetriadi, a fellow hospitality journalist who worked with Sutton at Catering Times and Wordsmith & Co, said: "Alan was not only one of the kindest and most fun people I have ever worked with, he was a brilliant trade journalist and wonderful teacher. I feel so privileged to have known him and to have benefited from his immense generosity, wisdom, friendship and wicked sense of humour. I will miss him greatly. My thoughts are with Sue, Heidi and all his lovely family."
Sutton's funeral will be held at 12.30pm on 17 August at COM Church in Dunstable. The service will be streamed live on the church's website.
Sutton is survived by his wife Sue, daughter Heidi and granddaughter Charlotte.