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Former weekly editor loses cancer battle at 72

A former editor who led a weekly newspaper for 16 years has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 72.

Bob Bingham, left, who spent almost half a century in journalism, was editor of the Northumberland Gazette for 16 years from 1987 to 2003 and was also group editor of a number of sister titles.

He started his career at 15-years-old at the Dave Smith News Agency in his home town of Berwick, then later joined the Gazette as a reporter in 1973, becoming deputy editor in 1983.

Following his death, a minute’s silence was held by Alnwick Rugby Club and their flag was lowered to half-mast ahead of a match at the weekend because Bob contributed match reports until recently and was also a past-president of the club.

Tributes have been paid by his former colleagues after he died on Friday evening.

In a story about his death, current Gazette editor Paul Larkin said: “Bob was a fantastic, long-serving and hard-working editor of the Gazette and upheld strong journalistic values. He did an amazing amount for the community and was well-respected in north Northumberland.

“He was still writing stories and reporting on rugby matches until a few weeks before he died, despite his illness. He will be sorely missed by the huge number of people who knew him.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to his widow Susan and the rest of his family. This is a very sad time for them and the town of Alnwick. Journalism has lost a fine servant.”

Other sister titles edited by Bob when he became group editor in the 1990s were the Berwick Gazette, the Borders Gazette, the Hawick News and the Selkirk Saturday Advertiser for Portsmouth and Sunderland Newspapers, which is now part of Johnston Press.

Former Morpeth Herald editor Terry Hackett, who worked with Bob at the Gazette, said: “Bob’s appointment as chief reporter at the Gazette in 1973 enlivened the newsroom.

“His inquisitive nature and excellent contacts were matched only by his enthusiasm for ferreting out the facts and hammering them into the finished article at a relentless pace.

“That same fantastic work ethic served him well when he went on to become assistant editor and eventually editor. He set a great example for young journalists who began their careers at the Gazette and many will be grateful for the lessons they learned under his leadership.

“Having worked with him and for him for many years, it was with some trepidation that in 1988 I took on the editorship of what was then a rival newspaper down the road from Alnwick.

“As an opponent he gave no quarter, but we remained friends and he was always great company to be with. We shared a lot of laughs together over the years and that’s how I’ll remember him best.”