Famous Sparkhill-born journalist who covered Birmingham pub bombings and Fred West dies

A renowned Midland reporter, who was a special reporter on the Birmingham pub bombings and the grueling murder case of Fred and Rose West, has died at his Worcestershire home.

Born in Sparkhill, Alan Wallcroft left school at 16 to become a copyist in the Birmingham Evening Mail newsroom and rose through the ranks to various senior positions in newspapers, television and radio, including editor chief of the Bromsgrove Advertiser and sports editor of the Malvern Gazette.

The 77-year-old retired journalist and lifelong Birmingham City FC fan died at his home in Powick, near Worcester, on January 5 after a long illness with his wife Val by his side. The couple met when she won a beauty pageant and he was one of the judges.

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The funeral of the father-of-one and grandfather takes place tomorrow at 11.30am (Tuesday January 25) at Worcester Crematorium, followed by a celebration of Alan’s life at Bransford Golf Club, Worcester.

Alan was working at ATV Today, the Birmingham-based television news and current affairs program when, on the evening of November 21, 1974, bombs exploded in two town center pubs. Alan found himself reporting amid the rubble of the Birmingham pub bombings, which killed 21 people and injured 182 others.

Twenty years later, working for BBC Radio Gloucester, Alan was caught up in the horrors that were uncovered in the garden and cellar of Fred and Rosemary West’s home in Cromwell Street.

Alan was at the heart of investigations into the couple responsible for the murders of 12 young women whose remains were buried in the house.

Journalist Alan Wallcroft, dead at 77.

For the next two years Alan was BBC Radio and Television’s special co-ordinator and reporter on the Cromwell Street Inquiries and had said about it: In the back of your mind. Sometimes it was horrific and journalists covering the case were offered advice.

During his career Alan has also worked for titles such as Oldbury News, Warley News, Raymonds News Agency in Stoke on Trent, Stoke Sentinel, Worcester Evening News, BBC Radio Stoke, Peterborough-based Radio Hereward and BBC Radio Gloucester.

A great sports enthusiast, Alan enjoyed being a football referee, fisherman and golfer, being twice elected captain of the senior section of Bransford Golf Club, near Worcester, which on the day of his death lowered its flag at half mast.

Fellow journalist and friend John Phillpott said: ‘Alan was an accomplished journalist who could do it all. Deputy editor, editor, sportswriter, theater critic…these are just a few of the skills he has demonstrated over a lifetime of accomplishments.

“But perhaps more than anything, I will miss our meetings in the theater and around the dinner table, many of which were enlivened by what seemed to be his endless repertoire of excruciatingly corny jokes. Rest in peace, Alan.

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