FORMER Hereford Times editor Richard Shields, who championed the careers of many journalists throughout the country while also rising to the rank of major in the Territorial Army, has died at the age of 82.

Widely acknowledged as the journalist's journalist, Dick remained as editor at Hereford from 1972 for 18 years, with a three-year gap in-between when he edited the Evening News in Worcester, and joined a special magazine projects’ team.

His funeral will be held on August 3 at 2.15pm at Hereford Crematorium.

Three years ago, he and his wife, Anne celebrated their golden wedding with their daughter, Elizabeth, son-in-law Giles and their granddaughter, Emily.

Among their many friends at the party were a generous sprinkling of former editorial colleagues who always held him with deep respect and affection.

Reporter and sub-editor Tony Boyce, who also had dealings with him on behalf of the National Union of Journalists, said: "He was one of the best.”

Meanwhile, Liz Griffin – another former editor of the Hereford Times – added: "He was a reassuring counsel to many rookie editors - myself included - passing on his wisdom and knowledge with a typically generous spirit."

Dick’s dedication to his industry involved him in working actively with the National Council for the Training of Journalists, and he was always encouraging and supportive to young reporters on his staff.

Under his leadership, the Hereford Times was awarded a special trophy as the best newspaper in the Reed Group, and later in life he became an editorial consultant for the Thompson Group.

A tireless campaigner for the Freda Pearce appeal to establish a hospice in the county, he was also press officer for the SSAFA charity.

During his National Service, Dick helped train recruits in shooting and he went on to join the TA, taking part in missions to Germany, Belgium, Gibraltar and America.

He was a rifles’ training instructor, competing at Bisley and went on to become Worcestershire county champion.

A key member of the TA’s PR unit, he was a press controller during the 50th anniversary commemorations of the D-Day landings in Normandy.

After his long and successful career in journalism Richard, from Wellington, remembered the early days when junior reporters were required to list mourners’ names at funerals, as well as noting every single result at flower shows.

He went on to work as a sub-editor at the Worcester Evening News, after which he went to Hereford to launch the Hereford Evening News.

“It was an exciting time; we had a circulation of 12,000 but it was costing a fortune to get it out across the county, and the Hereford Times was just too strong,” Dick later recalled.

After a brief spell in PR at alloy company Wiggin, he worked as a sub editor at the Hereford Times, before taking over as editor at the Abergavenny Chronicle.

And, in 1972, he was made Hereford Times editor.

“I had 18 years as editor," he would later say.

"Two spells of nine years, with a three-year gap in the middle.”

During his second spell in the Hereford Times editor’s chair, the circulation topped a record 40,000 a week.

“I had a good team of people,” he humbly said of the achievement.