Doncaster man who fought for release of Beirut hostage John McCarthy dies at 86

A Doncaster man who spent five years campaigning for the release of British hostage John McCarthy has died.

John McCarthy and Jill Morrell in Doncaster in 1993.
John McCarthy and Jill Morrell in Doncaster in 1993.

Jim Morrell worked tirelessly to organise support for the Friends of John McCarthy group, which focused world attention on the plight of a string of hostages help captive in Beirut during the late 80s and early 90s.

Mr Morrell, his late wife Peggy and their daughter Jill, then partner of the television journalist, helped keep Mr McCarthy's plight in the headlines during his ordeal.

After he was released in 1991 after 1,940 days in captivity, the family were applauded for their efforts and received worldwide prize.

Mr Morrell died at his home on June 26 at the age of 86.

An obituary described him as a "fine man who will be greatly missed by his family and friends."

Following his hostage ordeal, Mr McCarthy and Miss Morrell, who met at university, attended a reception at Doncaster Mansion House at which they handed over a thank-you letter to the people of Doncaster.

Miss Morrell also met the Queen at the Mansion House and the couple were also in Doncaster in 1993 to sign copies of their best-selling book, "Some Other Rainbow," an account of how they got through the five years of Mr McCarthy's captivity.

After McCarthy's release, the couple remained together until 1994 but they parted amicably. McCarthy subsequently met BBC photographer, Anna Ottewill, and eventually married her in April 1999.

Mr Morrell, who later moved to South Elmsall, lost his wife Peggy in 2000 at the age of 68. As well as Jill, the couple also had a son, Brian.

The funeral service for Mr Morrell will take place at Rose Hill Crematorium on July 13 at 1.40pm.