James Bowman, Chief reporter at the Farnham Herald

James
Bowman, who joined the editorial team of the Farnham Herald in 1998 and
went on to become its chief reporter, has died aged 30.

Bowman
fought a long and incredibly brave battle against cystic fibrosis, and
his service with the Herald was punctuated by short stays in Frimley
Park Hospital. He died there on 23 December.

Bowman joined the
Herald from the Surrey Advertiser in Guildford, having trained as a
journalist at Bournemouth University, where he gained a degree in
multi-media studies.

His role with the Advertiser involved
contributing pieces to the paper’s What’s On supplement, including film
and theatre reviews.

However, Bowman was soon taking on major
stories, demonstrating a keen appreciation of the issues of the day as
they affected Farnham.

He will be particularly remembered for his
extensive coverage of the successful fight to retain Farnham Hospital,
the changing fortunes of the Redgrave Theatre and the controversies
surrounding the proposed East Street development.

Bowman had a
sharp, inquiring mind; he knew the right questions to ask and how to
pitch them; he was at ease with people from all walks of life, and made
his copy accessible to readers.

He possessed the intelligence
needed to understand complex issues and mastered the art of balancing
rival points of view, adhering to strong values about journalism and
newspapers.

Bowman never lost his enthusiasm for the arts,
particularly cinema and theatre. His reviews continued to enhance the
arts pages of the Herald, as did his interviews with a number of star
names.

He was a bright, engaging personality, which is why news
of his death, and the overwhelming sadness, will reverberate well
beyond the corridors of the Herald.

Above all, his colleagues
remember him as a fighter who made light of hisillness. When it did
become common knowledge he wanted no favours and sought no sympathy,
and only those working alongside Bowman could fully appreciate the
courage and sheer bloody-minded effort it took for him to sustain the
work-rate demanded by the world of newspapers.

At the time of his
death Bowman lived with his parents, Ken and Gill, in Farnborough,
while spending a great deal of his time with his partner, Anne-Marie.

However,
he never lost his love for Norwich, where he spent his earliest years.
He was thrilled to see his beloved Norwich City promoted to the
Premiership.

Apart from his parents, Bowman is also survived by his brother Nick.

The
Herald has lost a highly talented, loyal and supremely brave
journalist; the town of Farnham has lost a good friend and is
undoubtedly the poorer for it.

His funeral took place in St
Andrew’s Parish Church, Farnham, followed by cremation at Aldershot.
Donations should be sent to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, care of Farnham
Funeral Services, 100 Shortheath Road, Farnham.

Peter Thompson, editor of the Farnham Herald 1993-2002.

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