A ‘quirky’ former journalist who spent 45 years working at a weekly newspaper has died at the age of 92.
John Leech worked at the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald his whole working life after starting there as a cub reporter from leaving school.
He rose to become a sub-editor at the paper and also wrote the leader page of three editorials and a diary under the pseudonym Joe Blunt – where he could express his wry sense of humour and distinctive writing style.
John died last week and his funeral was held on Monday (6 Aug) at St James’s Church in Devizes, which was attended by his former colleagues at the paper.
Family friend Rev Francis Chadwick gave the eulogy, describing John as a “quirky gentleman”.
He said: “He wrote copiously. His favourite authors were Barrie, Shaw and Dickens and, indeed, he developed a slightly Dickensian look in older age.
“I had in my notes the name ‘gentleman’ but I have been asked to include the adjective ‘quirky’. God has a lot of time for quirky people. John, we will miss you for all the love and wisdom we shared.”
John was born in Devizes and loved working at the paper’s office in the town, although he had to commute to Swindon three days a week as a sub-editor.
There was a collection at the funeral for Parkinson’s UK.