Tributes to former Stroud journalist John Abbs
FRIENDS and colleagues have been paying tribute to a widely respected former Stroud journalist John Abbs, who has died at the age of 74.
John was an 'old school' newspaperman whose attention to detail, fairness and accuracy were held in high regard in newsrooms throughout a career spanning almost half a century.
He was born in Orpington in Kent in March, 1938, and during the Second World War the family moved to Gloucestershire, where John went to Marling School.
His first job in journalism was a cub reporter on the then Stroud Journal at the age of 16.
It was important to get scoops and beat the rival Stroud News - as fellow Old Marlingtonian, former workmate and friend, Ron Gardiner explained: "Even with such menial matters as whist drives, rummage sales and village meetings".
John, who then lived at Forest Green, Nailsworth, married his first wife, Marjorie Hinder of Avening, and went on to gain considerable experience with other newspapers, on the south coast, Bristol - including the Evening Post and Western Daily Press - and in Gloucester.
At The Citizen in Gloucester John was a senior reporter specialising in business and industry, then chief reporter.
Switching to the sub editors department, he quickly learned how to polish a reporter's story, write a smart headline and design an attractive page and became deputy chief sub editor and features editor.
"Whatever task John was given, he would do it well and he earned the respect of all his colleagues," added Ron.
John numbered novelist Laurie Lee among his friends and named his middle daughter Rosie.
At The Citizen he met his second wife Beverly, who worked in the next room as woman's page editor, and in the 1980s they moved to Kempsey in Worcester, where he became a valued member of the news and features sub-editing teams at the Worcester Evening News, then as a freelance sub editor on various Worcestershire weekly papers, before returning part time as a sub editor on the Worcester News and finally retiring at the age of 69.
John became ill last summer but still retained a keen interest in the trade.
As one of his last acts, he was proof-reading pages at home - a newspaperman to the end.
He leaves second wife Beverly, three daughters, Alison, Rosie and Lucy, and two grandchildren, Mia and Lauren.
A funeral service to celebrate John's life was held at St Mary's Church, Kempsey, on Monday.