Tributes have been paid to a regional daily’s “fantastic journalist” who died on his 42nd birthday after suffering a brain haemorrhage last month.
He suffered a brain haemorrhage in July and passed away in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital on 13 August, with his death “leaving a huge hole in the newsroom”.
She said: “Everyone has been shocked by Darren’s death. He was a fantastic journalist who cared passionately about The Citizen.
“He was such a personality in the newsroom and a good friend to many of us.
“Since his death, we have been inundated with tributes. So many former colleagues have emailed, added a comment on Facebook or picked up the phone to say how much he meant to them.
“We will miss him terribly and our thoughts are with his family.”
Before working for the regional daily, Darren started out as a junior reporter for local free weekly the Mercury then moved to work for the Bailey Newspaper Group.
The Citizen described Darren as a “hugely talented designer” and said earlier this year he was nominated for front page of the year award at the EDF Energy South West Media Awards for his take on the Olympic Torch relay in Gloucester.
Darren was passionate about music and television and at one time, he wrote a soap column for the paper.
Ian Mean, former editor of The Citizen for 10 years, also paid tribute, saying: “Day in day out, Darren was the man whose strident designs made The Citizen a title envied by our profession.
“Receiving the award for the best regional newspaper in Britain in 2004, his brilliant front page designs were there for our journalistic peers to see.
“Those pages were some of the best produced in regional journalism, and in 40 years in this business, I have only come across a few designers to even touch Darren’s talent. He was a great technician.
“I have no doubt at all that if he had gone to Fleet Street he would have been an even bigger star. But he was our star – born and bred in Stroud whose newspaper was his work and his life. His enthusiasm and care for this newspaper and the people who worked for it was unsurpassed.
“Darren, you were an awesome journalist in life. In death, I salute you as a man whose loyalty to The Citizen has made me so proud.”
Jenny also paid a personal tribute to Darren in her editor’s column yesterday in a piece headlined “Farewell my great friend, The Citizen will not be the same without you”.
She described him as “quite simply one of the best people I have ever worked with” and said he was the first person she told when she got the job as editor earlier this year.
Jenny wrote: “There will never be enough pages of this paper to really convey just how much Darren has meant to me, to this paper and to all who knew him.
“He wrote the headlines which have moved and amused our readers for so many years. Today, we summoned up the strength to write them for him.
“Today Darren, this Citizen is for you – we’ll miss you.”
Darren leaves his mum Rita, dad Howard, brother Ashley, sister Hayley, brother-in-law Tim, grandmother Millie, niece and goddaughter Molly, nephew Elliott and his work friends.
Jenny’s full tribute can be read here.