TRIBUTES have been paid to one of the Hartlepool Mail’s longest-serving journalists.
Tony Locke, who worked for the paper for over a quarter of a century, has died at the age of 61.
After working for the Evening Despatch in Darlington, he joined the Mail in the mid-1980s as a sub-editor.
Such were Tony’s gifts, he transcended the changing times of the newspaper industry from ‘hot metal’ to full-page computer design effortlessly and progressed to become the Mail’s Head of Design.
After leaving the Mail in 2013, Tony went on to work for the Evening Gazette, in Middlesbrough, while also passing on his great knowledge to journalism students at Teesside University as a guest lecturer.
While Tony was a Stockton man, Middlesbrough was a town close to his heart as a lifelong Boro fan and season-ticket holder for some three decades, from the Ayresome Park days to the new stadium at the Riverside.
With a sharp mind and witty sense of humour, he was also a big quiz fan and appeared on the Channel 4 show, Fifteen to One, presented by William G Stewart, and was particularly thrilled that his dad was able to join him at the C4 studios to watch him.
His family meant the world to him and he is survived by wife, Pauline, and daughters, Zoe and Hannah. He was a proud grandad of Lucy and William.
Mail editorial director Joy Yates said: “Tony was an extremely popular member of the Hartlepool Mail team and was often called upon for advice and guidance.
“He will be sorely missed by all who had the honour of working with him.”
Former Mail assistant editor Gavin Ledwith said: “Tony was one of the most knowledgeable people I have worked with in journalism.
“He was happy to share his undoubted skills with less experienced and talented people such as myself.
“His deliberately grumpy manner could not hide a wicked sense of humour and I am sure I speak for countless former colleagues in saying how saddened and shocked I am at the death of one of the funniest people I have ever met.”
Tony’s funeral service will be at St Hilda’s Chapel, Middlesbrough Crematorium, on Tuesday at 2.15pm.