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Dustman who became weekly’s chief reporter dies aged 74

Mick KingA dustman who went on to become a weekly newspaper’s chief reporter has died aged 74.

Tributes have been paid to Mick King, who spent nearly 22 years with the Leighton Buzzard Observer.

Mick attended night school while working “on the bins” to gain his O-Level in English.

He sent stories to the Observer to be printed and also served as a freelance columnist before being offered a full-time job by the paper.

Former Observer reporter Sarah Holmes, who worked alongside Mick for many years, said: “I am so sad to hear of the passing of a friend and fellow journalist, Mick King. Mick was such an inspiration to me in my 12 years at the LBO.

“He went from dustman to journalist with various other vocations in between, gaining much life experience along the way.

“It just goes to show that really good writers and journalists don’t necessarily have a degree. Go drive that big dust cart in the sky Mick.”

Mick joined the Observer as a reporter in 1990 and retired in 2011.

His wife Elaine, 70, told the Observer: “He enjoyed the court cases and going out with the police.

“It fascinated him really, especially when he went to the Old Bailey to work on murder cases.

“At one point he used to write reviews for theatres and cinemas. He enjoyed all of it to tell you the truth.”

Mick, who died on Thursday after being diagnosed with cancer, is also survived by his brother Stephen.