Manly man and news director Paul Fenn dies aged 75

MANLY FANATIC: Paul Fenn. Picture: Supplied
MANLY FANATIC: Paul Fenn. Picture: Supplied

The tributes have been flowing as freely as his beloved Reschs pilsener following the sad passing of Manly rugby and media icon Paul Fenn.

"Fenny" was a well-known figure in the local sporting community - mostly through his lifelong love affair with the Marlins - and one of Australia's top newsmen, helping take Channel Nine to the top in the 1990s in his role as National News Director. There were plenty of - how do we put this - unpleasant types in the TV industry back then, but the ever-smiling Fenny was the polar opposite.

Long-time sports broadcaster Craig Norenbergs recalled the time Fenny rang him for a job interview:

Fenn: "We have a job going on the Today Show news.

Norenbergs: "Yes!"

Fenn: Do you play footy?"

Norenbergs: "Yep."

Fenn: "Which code?"

Norenbergs: "Both"

Fenn: "Wanna play rugby for Manly?"

Norenbergs: "Sure."

Fenn: "See you at Nine on Monday."

Fenny, who was 75, leaves behind children Simon and Hayley, six grandchildren, a galaxy of friends and a thousand stories.

Good friend Andy Bruyn wrote a touching tribute that has been shared dozens of times on social media. In it, he wrote that "Manly has lost a hero [with] a heart as big as Phar Lap".

"If you have ever stood at the end of Manly Beach and wanted to meet the real Australian, the man waiting there was this bloke," he wrote. "He was a giant of a man who rarely sought the spotlight but who brought joy, knowledge and so much success to those who were lucky enough to be drawn into his company, his care and his camaraderie."

He had led, mentored and befriended countless household industry names, he wrote, including Laurie Oakes, Peter Harvey, Ken Sutcliffe, Rob Penfold and Mike Munro.

He added: "Look for him on The Corso - his spirit will always be part of Manly."

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