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Former press journalist loses battle with MS

A “creative and lively” journalist who went on to produce BBC shows and shoot Crimewatch films has lost his ten-year battle with multiple sclerosis.

John Pettman, who started his career with the Gravesend Reporter, was 54 when he died earlier this month, having spent the last three years of life in a care home in Dartford.

His 19-year-old son Adam, currently at university in Scotland, told the Reporter: “I was very close to my dad and I was able to come down quite a lot to see him in the last few years when he was suffering from MS.

“He had so many friends in this area. My dad was a really creative and lively person, he was always full of ideas and he was always buzzing with excitement.

“I know that he was ecstatic to get the job at the Reporter, he got the job straight out of school and he loved it.”

John joined the Reporter as a junior in 1972 when he was 16-years-old.

In his later career he produced and director a host of TV shows such as BBC current affairs programme Nationwide, popular consumer show That’s Life, ITV emergency services documentary Blues and Twos as well as shooting Crimewatch films.

Family friend Julia Harland said: “I have known John since I first met my husband, when I was just 17 years old.

“I will remember John very fondly, every moment was a laugh with him.”

John is survived by his children Adam and Laura and ex-wife Amanda.

  • The funeral takes place at 2pm on Friday 8 May at Eltham Crematorium, South East London.