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Journalist who became equestrian PR man dies at 93

A long-standing weekly newspaper journalist who became a press officer for top level horse trials has died at 93.

Jim Gilmore started his career in journalism at the Wiltshire Gazette, after serving in the Merchant Navy during the Second World War, before joining the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard.

He worked for the Standard for 25 years as its Malmesbury reporter before being taken on to run the press office for the Badminton Horse Trials, eventually retiring from that position in 2001 after 32 years.

Tributes have been paid to him by former colleagues after his death at the age of 93.

Former Standard colleague Rev Richard Maslen said: “He was my greatest personal and professional friend and colleague.

“Now that the inconceivable has happened, and he has gone, it has to be the end of an era, to use a phrase both of us wrote many times before, but I never realised what it actually means until now.

“He could be blunt and critical if he thought standards in public and private life were slipping, but was compassionate by nature.

“He was a modest man who never dwelt upon his illustrious war record, or his great achievements in journalism and equestrian sporting events, and was happiest at home with the people he knew and loved.”

Another friend, Jim Toogood, said: “He knew everybody. A jolly good local reporter. A whole fund of information will die with him.”

Jim was a Merchant Navy radio officer in a tanker during the Second World War and his ship was sunk off Alexandria, with him being picked up by a motor torpedo boat.

In 1944 he returned to the UK to ferry supplies across “Bomb Alley” between London and Antwerp, before becoming a reporter after the war ended.

During his time as the Standard, he also supplied stories to the nationals, TV and radio.

His role with the Badminton Horse Trials saw him awarded the British Equestrian Medal of Honour in 1988.

A statement from the organisation said: “Jim was hugely respected by his fellow journalists and photographers, by riders and officials and was instrumental in bringing professionalism to the press tent.”

Jim was a devout Catholic and involved in a number of local organisations, including the the Malmesbury Hospital League of Friends and South Cotswolds Rotary.

He leaves a wife of 62 years, Anne, two children and three grandchildren.