A LONG-TIME editor of the paper that became the Epping Forest Guardian has died aged 91.

Dennis Wood was born to Rose and Arthur in Toot Hill on December 26, 1926.

Having been turned down from the RAF during the Second World War, he worked in the mines as a Bevin Boy before joining the Army and serving in Singapore and Malaya.

His journalistic career almost began in 1948, when his application to become a trainee reporter for the West Essex Gazette was turned down because, at the age of 21, he was deemed too old.

A chance encounter with a young reporter called Christine in the Kings Head, Ongar, led to being offered a job on the Gazette and to a blossoming relationship.

The couple married in 1959 and they had two sons, together called Nicholas and Jonathan.

Dennis spent many years with the West Essex Gazette, which became today’s Epping Forest Guardian, rising through the ranks to become editor before retiring in 1991.

Three years aAfter Christine died in 1993, Dennis met his second wife Jill in 1995 while on holiday. They married a year later.

Dennis died at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, on February 6, leaving behind six grandchildren.

Former Gazette-Guardian group editor Paul Davies said: “Everyone who worked with Dennis spoke of him with affection.

“He had a great sense of fair play both in his dealings with others and in his journalistic principles.

“It won him respect not only among his colleagues but with community leaders and members of the reading public.

“His knowledge of the Epping Forest area was encyclopaedic and he took his responsibilities as an editor very seriously. For all his gentle, non-confrontational manner, nothing got past him.”

His funeral will be held at Cam Valley Crematorium, Great Chesterford, at midday on February 22.