RALPH Whitworth was a city legend almost from his very first Sheffield Newspapers cartoon.
His simple sketches combined with a mischievous sense of humour and an ability to grasp the public mood made him essential reading.
For 40 years he satirised everything from the poll tax to the World Student Games and even himself. Perhaps his most famous lampooning was when Sheffield Wednesday players were forced to take pre-season training out on the moors, pictured.
Yet Ralph’s arrival at The Morning Telegraph and then The Star was down to a stroke of good fortune.
Born in 1924, he drew cartoons for armed forces magazines while serving during World War Two but was repeatedly turned down for sketch work after 1945. Instead he spent several years working as a builder
“Then one night,” says son James, “my mum told him to stop moping and take his work to the local paper. He knocked on the security guy’s door and asked to drop his stuff off.”
By good luck, the editor was working late. “He liked it, came down stairs and said ‘Can you start on Monday?’”
It was 1957, and that job with Sheffield Newspapers would be the one he kept until his death in 1998, aged 73.