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Mirror man turned weekly editor dies aged 83

Tributes have been paid to a former weekly newspaper editor who spent more than 40 years in the industry, who has died at the age of 83.

Robert House, who was known as Bob, was the editor of the Tiverton Gazette between 1979 and 1991 and before that worked for a number of other local and national titles, including the Daily Mirror.

He started his career as a tape boy on the Daily Worker after turning down his headmaster’s suggestion to study at Oxford.

As well as the Mirror and the Gazette, his other titles included the Bucks Free Press, the Hayes Chronicle, Slough Observer, Morning Advertiser and the Lincolnshire Echo.

Bob died earlier this month at home with his family and his funeral was held this week.

Richard Best, who began his career on the Gazette and is now editor at the West Briton, said: “I started off as a copy taker, inputting reports. He offered me a job as a reporter as he must have spotted some potential in me.

“If you got asked to do a particular piece by the editor, you would put your all into making it a good piece to prove his trust had not been misplaced.

“He was a proper, old-fashioned editor. As trainees, we called him Mr House, we might venture to call him ‘Bob’ in the pub but the rest of the time it was very formal. As young reporters we were in awe of him.”

Pat Keenor, another colleague from Bob’s time at the Gazette, said: “He was one of nature’s gentlemen – quiet and unassuming but with a strong sense of right and wrong. He was dedicated to the Gazette.”

Bob joined the RAF after time at the Hayes Chronicle and served in the Far East from 1946-1948.

He then joined the Slough Observer and had three separate spells in total at the paper under editor Lesley Tunks who described him as the “finest all round journalist I have ever known.”

Bob then moved to work on Fleet Street at the Morning Advertiser then the Daily Mirror – where he was editor of the house magazine STET – before returning to Slough as assistant editor.

He joined the Tiverton Gazette in 1979 after he spending the previous seven years on the Lincolnshire Echo, and during his time there created a fourth edition of the Gazette.

Bob leaves a widow, two daughters and nine grandchildren. His son, Robert, predeceased him.

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  • January 28, 2011 at 10:05 am
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    Mr House – I never had the courage to call him ‘Bob’ – was a terrific editor, the finest of journalists and a superb example to trainees like me; an old-school icon. He was blessed with an excellent team who provided the ideal setting in which to learn.

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  • January 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm
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    Bob House was a fine journalist who made the Gazette a very successful, popular paper. I learned a lot from him during my time there that has stood me in good stead all these years.

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  • February 2, 2011 at 5:43 pm
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    Very sad and sorry to hear of Bob’s death. I worked with him at the Slough Observer in the 1960s and he was one of a merry band of us who enjoyed our days together. Hard work, fun, long hours, lowish pay but we took pride in the good paper we were producing under Leslie Tunks as editor. Bob was chief reporter. A good journo who taught me a lot. I also remember his son Robert, also a journalist, who sadly died before Bob. Condolences to Bob’s wife Esther.

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