A weekly newspaper reporter who made his name among the local community with his coverage of the Dale Farm evictions has left to go freelance.
Sam Smith, left, joined the Billericay Gazette, an edition of the Brentwood Gazette, in August 2010 but is now working as a freelance reporter for daily free title the Metro, while also considering a move to India in the New Year.
He reported from inside the Dale Farm site last year with round-the-clock updates as around 80 families were evicted from an unauthorised travellers’ site.
Editor Nev Wilson said: “Sam is the consummate professional, a very easy guy to like and extremely hard working.
“During Sam’s time with us, he became immersed within the communities he covered, and already, I can tell you he is missed. What Sam brought to the table is integrity, honesty and immense empathy, and he gained respect for those qualities.”