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News man "Mr Colchester" dies, aged 89

Tributes have been paid to a veteran journalist dubbed “Mr Colchester” who has died at the age of 89.

Journalism was Bill Tucker’s life and a passion he continued right up until the end.

But Bill, who was awarded the MBE in 1979 for services to the community, was also known for being a tireless charity worker, sports lover and organiser.

He followed in the footsteps of four of his relatives to begin a career in journalism after leaving Exeter School.

Bill was born in Yorkshire and moved to Colchester in 1953 via the Warwick Advertiser, Paignton Observer, Torbay Herald and Express and the Walthamstow Guardian.

He made his mark straight away working at the Woodford Guardian, where the local MP was Sir Winston Churchill, memories of which later featured in an official biography of the great man.

During the war Bill kept up his interest in reporting by running a newspaper which stirred things up at the time and caused changes in tank training.

He had applied for a job with Essex County Newspapers but the particular attraction to the job with the Essex County Standard was the house that went with it – an incentive offered to senior reporters at the time.

Essex County Newspapers editor-in-chief Irene Kettle had known him for 30 years.

She said: “Bill was a gentleman and a true professional. It is a mark of the man that he afforded me as much respect and courtesy when I first met him as when I later became his ‘boss’.

“Bill had the word Colchester running through him like a stick of rock.

“Hundreds of people in this town owe him a debt of gratitude for his charity work, his insight and his humanity.

“Bill, who was in his 90th year, was one of the oldest working journalists in the country. He wrote his final Tucker’s topics for the Colchester & East Essex Express and arranged for it to be delivered to the newsroom despite his failing health.

“We will be running the column as a mark of respect. He would have wanted it that way.”

He won the freedom of Colchester borough in 1996 and was Essex County Newspapers’ Man of the Year in 1997.

It was soon after he was awarded his MBE that he retired from Essex County Newspapers but continued to be involved, writing a column for the Colchester Express right up until he was taken into hospital for the last time.

He leaves two daughters, six grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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