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Local editor who went on to national sports journalism career dies aged 54

Ron LewisA local newspaper editor who went on to become a national boxing journalist has died suddenly aged 54.

Tributes have been paid to Ron Lewis, left, who served as group editor at the seven-edition Hounslow Chronicle, in London.

While editing the Chronicle, Ron worked sub-editor shifts at national titles including The Guardian and the Daily Mail.

He then embarked on a 17-year career with The Times, becoming its boxing and athletics correspondent, before turning freelance in 2019.  He died on Friday after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Speaking to HTFP, former Chronicle colleague Tim Street recalled the help he received from Ron at the start of his career.

He said: “Encouraged to find work experience during the final year of a journalism degree in the spring of 2001, I honed in on a small local paper in West London called the Hounslow Chronicle, mainly because it was the main paper for my team, Brentford FC.

“A successful spell of work experience led to an offer of some freelance work to cover for holidays, and then, to my utter delight, to the offer of a permanent job as a junior reporter. Ron was the editor, and as I mentioned, had only known me for a few weeks.

“What I wasn’t aware of was that, following a change in ownership, Ron was about to be made redundant. I was later told that one of his last actions was to ensure I was taken on. He didn’t have to, but he did. Barely had I got my feet under my new desk, and he was gone.

“It is to my eternal regret that I never managed to thank Ron properly.

“But I hope it adds to the wonderful pictures being painted of Ron that, at a time when he would have had far more urgent matters on his mind, he was the kind of person to make a life-changing gesture for a youngster he barely knew, trying to take his first steps in the world of journalism.”

Ron began his career on the Chronicle in 1990, serving in roles including chief reporter, news editor, sports editor and deputy editor before stepping up to the editor’s chair in 2001.

He joined The Times after leaving the Chronicle, spending 12 years as a sports writer before taking up the boxing and athletics correspondent job in 2013.

Sky journalist Martha Kelner wrote on T witter: “Ron was such a kind, gentle man. He was so proud of his kids.

“I fondly remember him showing us pictures of them and telling us about all their achievements.”

Andy Stephens, another former Times colleague, added: “I worked with Ron for several years at The Times and he was a great journalist but, more importantly, a wonderful human being.”

Ron died at his home in London and is survived by his wife, Ellie, their 12-year-old son Stanley and their nine-year-old daughter Polly.