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Newspaper’s chief editorial assistant dies aged 61

Tributes have been paid to the chief editorial assistant at a regional daily who has died at the age of 61.

Ken Draper, left, worked at Plymouth’s The Herald for nearly two decades and was responsible for the Club Talk page, which reported on the societies and groups across the patch.

He also put together the daily What’s On and Shipping News panels for the paper and provided support to The Herald’s sportsdesk.

Ken’s death came as he was preparing to take part in the 10-mile Great South Run to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, which had helped him during his battle with tongue cancer.

Three of his colleagues from The Herald’s newsroom, James Garnett, Claire Jones and Phil Stoneham, will now carry out the run on 28 October in his memory with the aim of raising £10,000 and the paper has donated £1,000 towards this.

A former Royal Marine with a 22-year military career, Ken moved to Plymouth after leaving the forces in the early 1990s, having seen active service in the Falklands War.

Former Herald picture editor Pete Holdgate, who also served in the Falklands, said: “He wanted to raise money for charity once he came through his own fight with cancer.

“He was one of those blokes who was always there, and always willing to help out when you needed him.”

Ken, who was originally from Nottingham, was a keen sportsman who enjoyed playing football and was a regular in the sport desk’s cricket team.

Herald editor Ian Wood said: “Ken was a very popular member of our team at the Herald and we are all deeply saddened by his death.

“He was very professional and took pride in his work at the paper which earned him much respect among his colleagues and our readers. We shall all miss Ken. Our thoughts are with his family.”

Ken leaves three sons, Wayne, Paul and Matthew.

To sponsor The Herald team at the Great South Run, click here.