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Local reporter turned BBC man dies aged 83

A former reporter turned press officer who worked on several regional newspapers before spending 25 years with the BBC has died aged 83.

John Wood, who had been suffering with diabetes-related problems for several years, began his career as a trainee reporter with the Birmingham Post and Mail in 1947 and later worked at the Cannock Advertiser and Wolverhampton Chronicle.

At the age of 22, he left England for a job as a reporter on the East African Standard newspaper in Nairobi, Kenya.

On returning to the UK, he rose to chief press and public relations officer at the BBC’s base in the Midlands after starting his career with the corporation in London.

John Wood has died at the age of 83

The father-of-two, who also returned to work in Kenya with his family from 1970 to 1973, eventually retired from the BBC in 1983.

His daughter Kerrie Tillott said her father’s spirit of adventure and passion for writing had inspired him to work abroad in his early twenties.

“His service with the East African Standard included the whole period of the Mau Mau rebellion,” she told the Birmingham Post.

“He was able to carry out his National Service in the Kenya Police Reserve and later on in the Kenya Regiment, the King’s African Rifles.

“He joined one of the two reserve regiments of the Special air Service, the 23rd Regiment, in 1957 as a trooper, and rose to captain before retiring in 1972.”

John also served as a member of the Parachute Regiment.

“In 1970, he returned to Kenya, this time with his wife and family on secondment from the BBC, to take up a position with the Kenyan Radio and Television counterpart to the BBC, Voice of Kenya, in Nairobi,” she added.

After leaving the BBC he worked as a freelance journalist, including spells with the Birmingham Post and Mail and Walsall Chamber of Commerce.

John, who lived in Walsall, leaves a wife Elaine, two daughters and four grandchildren.

His funeral has been arranged for 18 March at Streetly Crematorium in Walsall at 1.30pm.