A former regional press journalist who went on to work in Fleet Street has died suddenly at his home after suffering a heart attack on Boxing Day.
Seventy-five-year-old John Dodd was a popular figure across West Sussex and Hampshire where he started his career as a trainee reporter on the Petersfield Post when he was 15.
He went on to work for a newspaper in Slough before moving to the now-defunct Manchester Evening Echo.
He married Isobel in 1963 and they went to the United States for a year where John worked before returning to England where he went on to Fleet Street.
Later in his career, he also wrote a whimsical column for The Chichester Observer.
Jo Rothery, previously the edition editor of the Observer, said: “One of the best ‘old-school’ journalists around, John was also a real gentleman and will be sadly missed.”
John, who was born and brought up at The Harrow pub in Steep, believed strongly in the importance of local pubs being at the heart of their communities.
He organised cricket and darts teams for his own pub at South Harting, The Ship.
He was also a great lover of the countryside having grown up at Steep where he spent his childhood playing in The Hangars and his love of all things rural was frequently echoed in his columns.
Last year he achieved a great ambition when he had two ebooks published including a thriller, Fall Guy, and a second book, Capital Punishment, a compendium of funny cases from London law courts which John covered for the Observer, Evening Standard and the Independent on Sunday.
He continued to write stories for the nationals and the local newspapers until his death.
John’s funeral will take place at the parish church in South Harting on Friday 10 January.