The wife of an former newspaper editor has paid tribute to her late husband.

John Yates, former group editor of London and Essex Guardian Newspapers, a precursor to the Guardian Series, died on December 30 at the age of 84 following a long illness.

Mr Yates was heavily involved with the community, apart from his journalistic work he sat as a magistrate in Epping for 27years and was a governor of Theydon Bois primary School.

Remembering her husband his wife Joan, 81, said: “He really enjoyed his work and would often boast he never had any time off.

“He loved talking to people and finding out their stories. He often used to sit in cafes and write his stories from there.

“He never wanted to retire at all but he did help build some of our extension and he was very good in the garden.”

Mr Yates served two years national service with th Royal Navy in the late 1940s and in the 1960s and 1970s re-joined the force to write articles on service personel from the area while on assignments.

He was inspirational to many in the industry and trained journalists who have gone on to report for national papers.

His daughter Jackie followed in his footsteps writing an article about him for the Guardian and Gazette and his granddaughter Rachel now works as an assistant news editor for ITV.

Mrs Yates said: “His children and grandchildren loved him and I’ve received lots and lots of letters and everyone says he was a true gentleman.”

Mrs Yates married Mr Yates at the age of 18 and the couple would have celebrated their diamond anniversary in June this year.

Mr Yates’ funeral will be held at St Mary’s Church in Piercing Hill, Theydon Bois, on Friday, January 17. Family flowers only.