Colleagues have paid tribute to former Daily Mirror North East reporter Clive Crickmer, who has died aged 71.
The South Shields-born journalist, who was considered one of the region's most respected journalists, died at South Tyneside District Hospital on Tuesday after a short illness.
Crickmer began his career on the Newcastle Evening Chronicle in the 1950s, later spending several years with the Daily Mail in the paper's Manchester office, before joining the Daily Mirror in 1969.
One of the biggest stories he worked on came in 1988 when he was the first national newspaper reporter to reach Lockerbie, after a bomb brought down a jumbo jet in the Scottish town.
In 2009 his contribution to journalism was recognised with a lifetime achievement award at the Tom Cordner North East Press Awards.
'Clive is one of my journalistic heroes,'said the Daily Mirror's current North East reporter Jeremy Armstrong.
'He was a larger-than-life character and a brilliant journalist. He inspired a great number of people through the job – me being one of them. It was a real privilege to have known him. He'll be a huge miss."
After his retirement in 2000 Crickmer went on to cover the fortunes of his beloved Westoe Rugby Club for the Shields Gazette.
Shields Gazette editor John Szymanski said: "Clive was a brilliant journalist who was highly respected both within and outside the industry. He was a lovely man, a real gentleman and an absolute pleasure to work with."
Gazette features editor Janis Blower added: 'Clive was a journalist to his bones and represented everything that was good about the profession."
Mark Blacklock, a former Daily Express reporter and close friend if Crickmer said: 'You learned at the knee of people like Clive, he had a unique way with words.
'I remember talking about his time on tabloid newspapers, before they turned nasty, and saying some people regarded it as a golden era. Clive said â€˜no, it was the golden era'. He loved every minute of it, that's why he was so good at it."
Peter Shaw, the former club steward at South Shields and Westoe Club, said: 'Clive was a gentleman who always had time for you and never a bad word for anyone else.
'A raconteur with a command of the English language second to none, he always had a story to tell about his reporting days, cricket, rugby or his beloved family.
'He was an all-round nice guy and will be an immense miss."
Away from the newsroom, the former South Shields High School pupil was a talented cricketer and a bowler in the South Shields side that won the Durham Senior League in 1958.
He later went on to write an acclaimed history of his hometown cricket club.
Mr Crickmer, of Harton Lane, South Shields, leaves a wife, Yvonne, daughter, Amanda, and son, Gareth, who followed his father into journalism and worked at the Gazette before going freelance.
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