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Shock death of Gazette's Keith Parker

Keith Parker, assistant editor of the Brentwood Gazette Series, has died after a short illness. He was 52.

Keith had been acting editor of the Gazette since the summer until he was taken ill late in November.

He joined the Gazette in August 2000, working alongside the then editor Roger Watkins.

Roger, now editor-in-chief of Northcliffe’s titles in Kent and Sussex, said: “This is such a shock because Keith was such a fit, active, vital man.

“He was also a committed, loyal and hard-working number two and helped to guide the Gazette through some successful years during which we won several awards.

“We shall all miss his good humour and his positive ‘can do’ attitude. He leaves a gap that will be hard to fill.”

Keith has previously held senior editorial positions on the Southend Evening Echo and the Yellow Advertiser Series.

In his youth Keith was an accomplished boxer and swimmer and was a keen member of the Territorial Army, serving in the Parachute Regiment and as an officer in the Royal Anglian Regiment.

Last year he helped to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the relief of Arnhem by parachuting into the Dutch town from a wartime Dakota (above) and raising money for charity, an event that was pictured on his office wall.

Keith leaves a widow, Gill, and four sons.