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Journalist loses cystic fibrosis battle aged 30

Tributes have been paid to Farnham Herald journalist James Bowman, who has died aged 30.

The chief reporter (pictured), who joined the Herald’s editorial team in 1998, had fought a long battle against cystic fibrosis.

He joined The Herald from The Surrey Advertiser in Guildford, having trained as a journalist at Bournemouth University, where he gained a BA Hons in multi-media studies.

His role with the Advertiser involved contributing pieces to the paper’s What’s On supplement, including film and theatre reviews, but on joining The Herald he quickly caught the eye with his general news reporting.

Former Herald editor Pete Thompson, who gave James his job at the paper, said: “James possessed all the qualities for the job.

“He had a sharp, inquiring mind; he knew the right questions to ask and how to pitch them; he was at ease with people from all walks of life. He possessed the intelligence needed to understand complex issues, and mastered the art of balancing rival points of view.

“When it came to putting the words down, he could always be relied on to make his copy accessible to readers. He leaves behind many examples of fine writing, many complex articles remarkable for their clarity.

“He adhered to strong values about journalism and newspapers and never knowingly compromised on accuracy. Nor was he ever fazed by the hurly burly of the newsroom, some of his best work being done against the demands of the clock.”

Despite the pressures of news coverage, James never lost his enthusiasm for the arts, particularly cinema and theatre, and his reviews continued to appear on the arts pages of The Herald, as did his interviews with many star names.

Peter said: “James was an asset to The Herald, as well as a sure-footed ambassador for the paper in the community. He gained and held the respect of colleagues from all departments, just as he gained the respect of all those people with whom he came into contact in the Farnham area.