His career also spanned the broadcasting world, including stints as news editor at BBC Radio Leicester as well as editor of BBC News Online.
Hugh, pictured left, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in November and died at his home in Pershore, Worcestershire, on Monday with his family by his side. He was 61.
Starting out as a trainee reporter on the Kidderminster Shuttfle, he later became the Kidderminster reporter for the Birmingham Evening Mail in the late 1970s before moving on to the BBC.
After leaving the Post he returned to the BBC to lead the development of the English Regions News Online service, based at Pebble Mill in Birmingham.
He retired in May 2010 as editor of the BBC’s News and Sport website in England, covering 42 local areas. During his tenure its audience grew to more than 10 million users.
Eileen Murphy, executive editor of BBC News Online England, who worked with Hugh for a decade, said: “His passion for the highest journalistic standards and love of local news inspired all of those who worked with him to demand the best from ourselves and for our audiences.
“People will remember him as a charismatic editorial leader who recognised talent in his teams and understood that audiences deserve the best journalism at local, national and international levels.
“Whether ruling on a tough editorial dilemma or at leisure he would deliver his judgement with humour and the clarity that comes from being one of the best.”
Sue Smith, a former Evening Mail district reporter, added: “Hugh broke some good stories, had good contacts and knew his patch.
He will be sadly missed. Our thoughts are with his family.”
Birmingham Press Club vice-chairman Fred Bromwich, who was Hugh’s district news editor on the Mail, said: “Hugh was always a true professional and carved out a great career in both broadcasting and newspapers.
“He had bags of drive and ambition that you knew would take him onwards and upwards.”
Hugh spent the first two years of his retirement living on Crete with his wife Lynne.
The couple eventually returned to the UK to be nearer their six grandchildren.