A memorial service for the late Chris McPherson, a former PANPA president and industry stalwart, was held in Shepparton today. ROB DUFFIELD, chairman, The Victorian Country Press Association and, PAUL THOMAS, president, Country Press Australia, share this summary of their colleague who died, aged 61, after a long battle with illness.
Chris McPherson joined the family newspaper company straight from school and worked his way through typesetting, composing and printing to advertising. He was first elected as a Victorian executive councillor in 1982 at the age of 26.
He was elected vice-president of Victorian Country Press Association (VCPA) in 1988 and president from 1990-1992. In 1999, Chris became a director of CPA. He was elected its president in 2006 and served for two terms. He served as a director and was the representative for Victoria.
Chris was involved in many industry organisations, including serving on the council of the Melbourne College of Printing and Graphic Arts and the board of PANPA (Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers’ Association, now merged into The Newspaper Works).
Chris was first elected to the PANPA Board in April 1986, became vice-president and was elected president in 1995. He was the longest-serving director of the PANPA board when he finished his two year term as president in 1997.
PANPA grew from 180 newspaper and supply members to more than 350 during Chris’ time as a board member.
Chris was the third generation of his family to serve as VCPA president and is also the third generation of his family to serve as chairman of the Country Press Co-operative board. Chris was the second generation to serve as president of CPA.
Following his diagnosis of prostate cancer in 2007, Chris championed awareness of the disease by instigating the Biggest Ever Blokes Lunches. From Shepparton, the event has spread to 11 other venues, raising more than $2 million for prostate cancer research. This year, he was recognised for his contribution to prostate cancer awareness and fundraising with a National Volunteer of the Year award.
Chris worked tirelessly for the industry with incredible passion. He acted as mentor and great friend to many newspaper publishers and was an enormous support to independent publishers across the company.
An incredibly generous friend, he was a mate to many and was the conduit to many get-togethers, laughs and a few drinks and quality food. Chris will be missed by many.
A memorial service was held today at St Augustine’s Anglican Church in Shepparton, Victoria.