Tributes paid to popular newspaper designer Darren Powell, 42
FAMILY, friends and former colleagues of much-loved newspaper designer Darren Powell have been paying their tributes after he passed away on his birthday aged just 42.
An immensely popular chief sub and design editor at The Citizen newspaper, Darren died on Tuesday, August 13 at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital after suffering a brain haemorrhage several weeks earlier.
Born at Stroud Maternity Hospital in 1971, Darren undertook work experience at the Stroud News & Journal aged just 14 before securing his first proper job in the industry as a trainee reporter with the now-defunct Stroud-based paper the Mercury.
Darren's mum Rita Powell said it had always been her son's lifelong dream to work in journalism, while former colleagues remembered the passion and enthusiasm the ex-Archway School pupil had always displayed for his job.
Hayley Jones, Darren's younger sister, described him as a 'happy, fun-loving and caring big brother who was always up for a laugh'.
His mother Rita said: "Darren was very thoughtful and caring, he took pride in everything he did, especially his work, and his family were very proud of him and are devastated at his death at a very young age."
Skip Walker, editor of the Gloucestershire Gazette and the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard, worked with Darren on and off for the best part of 10 years.
"He was one of the kindest people I have known in my life and also one of the most committed and hardworking," she said.
"He loved local journalism and always worked very hard to produce the best for readers."
Darren is survived by his mother Rita, father Howard, brother Ashley, 36 and sister Hayley, 38.
Carole Taylor, who gave Darren his first job in journalism during her time as editor of The Mercury in the late 1980s, remembers his 'sheer enthusiasm, charm and quirky sense of humour'.
WHEN Darren Powell bounced into the Clarendon Court office of the Stroud Mercury in the late 1980s he asked for a job as a reporter.
In addition to the fact that we had no staff vacancies, I was reluctant to take on a teenage school-leaver with no journalistic qualifications.
But within minutes Darren had his job. His sheer enthusiasm, charm and quirky sense of humour had won me over.
I never regretted that decision. It quickly became apparent that Darren was a born journalist. He absolutely loved the job and everyone - from colleagues and readers to the office cleaner - loved him.
Nothing was too much trouble for Darren and, grateful for his own break, he was always only too willing to give others a helping hand up the professional ladder.
When the Mercury folded overnight, a casualty of the Asil Nadir scandal in 1990, Darren had no trouble getting a job at the Gloucestershire Gazette in Dursley.
Several years later we were colleagues again when I joined the Gazette and Darren was as happy as ever, doing the job he loved.
Eventually he moved to the Gloucester Citizen - "my dream job, I am so lucky," he told me. And Darren was still living his dream at the time of his untimely death.
Everyone who has known Darren will mourn his passing. He was one of those increasingly rare individuals, cheerful and happy and content in his chosen profession. We will all miss him.
Editor Mercury Newspaper Group (1987-1990).
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