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He was born in Dewsbury. Although his family background was Church of England, Brearey rejected religion as a teenager. He was a member of the Young Communist League and subsequently the Communist Party of Great Britain. He remained a Marxist for the rest of his life, but had moved away from the CPGB towards the Socialist Party of Great Britain.
He started his own newspaper, the Dewsbury Sentinel, at the age of sixteen, and went on to work for many local newspapers and contribute to hundreds of publications. He was news editor of the Wakefield Express and editor of the Ossett Observer.
An activist in the National Union of Journalists, his book for young journalists, "Never Say Scoop", was published in 1981.
He was editor of The Freethinker from 1993 until his death from cancer at the age of 58.
- Never Say Scoop (1981) Cleckheaton: Kirklees Monographs