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‘Meticulous’ former weekly editor dies aged 95

Douglas Gerrard with his wife Muriel

Tributes have been paid to a popular and “meticulous” former weekly editor who has died aged 95.

The funeral of Douglas Gerrard, who fought in the Cheltenham squadron of tank regiment the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars, is due to take place tomorrow.

Affectionately known as Gerry, he moved to Cheltenham in the 1930s, starting life as a junior reporter on the Gloucestershire Echo.

He would spend the next 46 years in the newsroom and on the frontline, rising to become assistant editor of the Echo and editor of sister free weekly the Cheltenham News.

Douglas, described by his family as a “gentle man”, leaves behind his wife Muriel, son Paul and grandchildren Sophie, Gareth, Michael and Christopher.

Said Paul: “He loved being a journalist, always enjoyed meeting people and telling stories.

“It was what he was made to do. Dad was a very kind and gentle man. From about the age of 15 till he was 60, he was constantly writing.

“He was very meticulous, detailed, and he loved the English language and had a way with words.”

Douglas joined the Hussars, a territorial armoured regiment, in 1939 but returned to the Echo as a senior reporter after being demobbed in 1946.

He moved up the ranks to become the paper’s sub editor, then chief sub editor.

During that time, he proof-read the paper’s pages, and coordinated the design of the newspaper.

He was finally made assistant editor on the paper before retiring, but returned to journalism to lead the Cheltenham News until finally bowing out in 1981.

Echo feature writer Robin Brooks said: ““I worked with Doug, or Gerry as everyone called him, when he came out of retirement to be editor of the Cheltenham News when it was started in the late 1970s.

“He was an interesting guy. Quiet by nature, but with a dry sense of humour, he knew everyone and everything about Cheltenham having spent so much of his working life rummaging about in the town’s nooks and crannies.

“Although the Cheltenham News was only a freesheet, Gerry edited it by the old school standards of the time. Never a split infinitive. Never the word less when it should have been fewer. He was a professional.”

Douglas died peacefully in his sleep at Northleach Court on  23 March.  His funeral will be held at 12.45pm tomorrow at St Mary’s Church in Charlton Kings.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 9:43 am
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    I worked with Gerry at the Gloucestershire Echo for a short time. He was a great guy. A real gentleman, with a wealth of knowledge about his patch. I was sorry to read of his passing.

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