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Regional journalist turned post-punk musician dies aged 49

JohnClareA former regional daily journalist who went on to become the frontman of a post-punk band has died suddenly at the age of 49.

John Clare, pictured, worked as a reporter at the Surrey Advertiser and Stockport Express before joining the Cambridge News in 2000.

Two years later he co-founded local post-punk band Bomb Factory, who went on to tour Germany and France and have supported The Fall and Half Man Half Biscuit.

As a reporter he also covered the Soham murders trial at the Old Bailey in 2002 before joining Masons news agency, during which time he also worked as a reporter for Anglia TV.

John, who died at his home in Cambridge on January 3, moved into public relations in 2006, first with the RSPB and then with Anglian Water for seven years.

Ciaran Nelson, Anglian Water’s director of brand and communications, told the Cambridge Independent: “John was an exceptional writer and talent yet there was much, much more to the man beyond his work.

“It was this rich tapestry behind his understated exterior that had us all enthralled – as he often did while regaling us with stories from Bomb Factory and as a reporter.

“The communications and writing community has lost a fantastic talent, and we all have lost a hugely intelligent, decent and funny man who will be sorely missed.”

After leaving Anglian Water John joined Cambridge University Press & Assessment as PR and research communications manager.

Managing director of academic publishing Mandy Hill said: “Everyone who worked with John is going to miss him terribly.

“He was brilliant at his job and a joy to work with. His ability to distil our thoughts and ambitions into a clear story or announcement never failed to impress me. I have worked with John on some extremely challenging issues and will always be grateful for the thoughtful approach he took to all our discussions.

“But it will be the loss of him as a person, his humour, candour, empathy and integrity, that will leave the biggest hole.”

John’s current band, Paint Nothing, released an album, Influencer, last year and were due to go into the studio next month to record more material.

David Williams, drummer in both Paint Nothing and Bomb Factory, said: “First and foremost, John was a great friend. We made music together over the last 20 years and we are all devastated by his loss.”

John is survived by Karen, also a journalist, their son William and his mother Julia.

Said Karen: “John was a master wordsmith and a creative soul, and he really spoke to people with his lyrics. He was a lovely, kind-hearted, funny man who made lifelong friends wherever he went.

“We all are devastated. He was a brilliant dad, husband, son, son-in-law, uncle and friend, and still had so much to give.”