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Former daily newsdesk chief dies after cancer fight aged 67

Iris ClappA regional daily’s former news and features editor has died after a cancer battle aged 67.

Tributes have been paid to Iris Clapp, pictured, who worked for the Colchester Daily Gazette from 1980 to 2009.

Iris is credited with mentoring generations of trainee journalists at the Gazette, “sharing her wisdom and experience and guiding them to hone their news sense and writing abilities”.

Vicky Passingham worked with Iris for 22 years and was her deputy when she was features editor at the newspaper.

Vicky, who was also Iris’s friend for more than 30 years, told the Gazette: “Iris was an exceptional journalist and the tributes which have flooded in are a true testament to the impact Iris had on so many people’s lives.

“She helped teach and support a generation of journalists.

“She could be fearsome but she was always fair and won everlasting respect and love from those who knew her.

“She was a warm, caring, intelligent woman who had a passion for life and a thirst for knowledge. We will miss her dearly.”

Burnley-born Iris began her career on the Rossendale Free Press in 1972 but left to study English Literature at the University of Kent, in Canterbury, three years later.

After graduating, Iris returned to work on the Burnley Express before moving to Colchester in 1980.

Her sister Linda said: “She was passionate about journalism, she loved everything about it.

“She loved her job and it suited her to a tee.

“She wanted the truth to be told and for people to know what others might want to be kept hidden.

“She did not broadly like politicians because they were not especially open or forthright.”

After leaving the Gazette, Iris became a learning administrator with Colchester Institute, helping adult learners to develop their educational skills.

Iris, who lived in New Town, Colchester, was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and died at the town’s St Helena Hospice.

She is survived by Linda, brother-in-law Peter, nephews James and Douglas and great niece, Ruby, as well as many friends.