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Journalist who covered massacre for regional daily dies aged 55

martin-carterA former regional journalist who covered the Hungerford Massacre before going on to a career in health service PR has died from a brain tumour aged 55.

Tributes have been paid to Martin Carter, left, who worked on the Western Daily Press and Swindon Advertiser during his regional press career.

While at the Advertiser, Martin reported on the 1987 Hungerford shootings, in which Michael Ryan shot dead 16 people and injured 15 others before turning the gun on himself in the Berkshire town.

Covering the massacre sparked an interest in the way the health service dealt with casualties, which in turn led Martin to leave the Advertiser after six years to go into media relations for a number of NHS authorities.

He later becoming a director of a consultancy that advised the NHS on media issues.

A keen conservationist, Martin also jointly directed and produced a documentary about issues facing the River Thames near the town of Cricklade, in Wiltshire, with his future wife Diane Scully, even enlisting TV expert David Bellamy to work on the project.

Martin, whose funeral was held yesterday, died on 20 August at a hospice near his home in Somerset last month, having been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour while on holiday four months ago.

He and Diane were recently married, after his illness was diagnosed.

Freelance journalist and Advertiser contributor Barry Leighton, who worked with Martin in Swindon, said: “This is devastating news for anyone who knew Martin. Quite simply, he was a great bloke.

“We all had huge respect for Martin in the Advertiser news room both as a person and a journalist. He certainly knew his stuff as a reporter.

“He was very passionate about the stories he became involved with. He was also fiercely competitive in just about anything he undertook, from football to Trivial Pursuit.

“You meet scores of people along the way in this profession, but Martin sticks out. He was a bit special, Martin.”