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Weekly’s former deputy editor dies just weeks into retirement

Bob BurgessA weekly newspaper’s former deputy editor has died just weeks after retiring from his 49-year journalism career.

Tributes have been paid to Bob Burgess, pictured left, who spent almost half a century reporting on the Scottish Borders and left his position as second-in-command at the Southern Reporter on 31 March.

Bob also previously served as editor of the Border Telegraph, as well as working at the Selkirk Weekend Advertiser and BBC over the course of his career.

Among those to pay tribute has been former Liberal Party leader and Borders MP Lord Steel.

He said: “I knew Bob Burgess over 40 years, first as a careful and courteous journalist on the Border Telegraph and the Southern Reporter, then later as a loving father to Matthew, and a speaker at local events and a popular figure in the Borders community.

“He will be greatly missed from his pioneering the annual haggis hunt and the boogie band which entertained us all. So sad that he did not live to enjoy his retirement. He lived life to the full.”

Bob started his career on the Galashiels-based Border Telegraph in July 1967, working two days a week on the Peeblesshire News, and served as its editor from 1978 to 1983.

He then spent 14 years with the BBC before joining The Southern Reporter and its sister title, the Selkirk Weekend Advertiser.

He also freelanced for a while, mainly covering court cases for national tabloids, and was one of the few surviving local journalists who covered the High Court when it regularly sat at Jedburgh.

Bob was also deputy FoC of the local Johnston Press National Union of Journalists chapel and was vice-chair of its Berwick and Borders branch.

Reporter editor Phil Johnson said: “Bob was a great servant to the Scottish Borders throughout his long career in journalism. A talented writer with a nose for a story, he was well connected and highly respected across the region.

“If you needed to know about Borders history or tradition, Bob was always the best the person to ask. I am deeply saddened by his loss, so soon after his retirement. He will be missed.”

On his last day at work he was presented with an award from Scottish Borders Council in recognition of his services to the region.

Speaking at the time, he said: “I confess that it is a strange feeling. My son, Matthew, says I should write a book about my experiences. It has been a privilege to report of the affairs of my beloved Borderland over almost half a century.”

Away from work, Bob was much in demand as an after-dinner speaker and was a member of a local skiffle band.

Bob excelled on the rugby field during his younger days. However, during latter years, he developed an interest in football, chiefly because of his son Matthew’s passion for Dundee United.

3 comments

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  • May 12, 2016 at 8:44 am
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    Very sorry to read about Bob’s death – a great character, tremendous journalist and, above all else, a good guy.

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  • May 12, 2016 at 1:58 pm
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    A great colourful character, the likes of which are sadly few and far between these days.

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  • May 12, 2016 at 8:42 pm
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    Bob was a huge personality and a top notch journalist. Old school in the best possible sense. That he died so soon after retiring is tragic.

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